Bill Authored By Rep. Todd Rock Would Help Protect Kids Better

The Record Herald

A bill authored by state Rep. Todd Rock that would enhance penalties for adults who physically attack or harm children unanimously passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Tuesday.

House Bill 350 was drafted by Rock based on the recommendations of the Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection that was created by the General Assembly in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal.

If signed into law, anyone 18 or older who causes bodily injury to a child younger than 12 could be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. In addition, a first-degree felony charge could be filed if an adult attempts to seriously injure a child younger than 12.

Another section of the bill provides for more criminal charges and penalties if the child is younger than 4.

What’s being done

“The Sandusky scandal at Penn State was greatly disturbing to me as well as millions of Americans,” said Rock, a Republican who represents Franklin County. “Parents must be confident that when they place their children in the care of others their children will return home unharmed. By raising the penalties for harming children, as this legislation would do, we are giving law enforcement the tools they need to remove from our communities those who would harm our children.”

In the last session of the General Assembly, Rock supported legislation to close loopholes in federal and state laws which require convicted sexual offenders to register the address of where they live for the safety of others in the community. During that session, lawmakers also created the Task Force on Child Protection, which was comprised of educators, social workers, attorneys and judges.

The recommendations of the task force were delivered in November and lawmakers in the House have taken the lead in reviewing that report to draft and pass additional child protection laws in the 2013-14 legislative session.

The measure now moves to the Senate for consideration.

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