In the decade since the revelations about the predatory sexual abuse of children perpetrated by former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, lawmakers have passed more than two dozen bills intended to better protect children. Some of that legislation dramatically changed the requirements for those who work with children and those who give their free time to help children. Sandusky was arrested on Nov. 5, 2011, on 52 counts of sexual abuse of young boys over a 15-year period from 1994 to 2009. Part of the challenge at the time was that people who had suddenly been told they were required to report suspected abuse often didn’t get any training to help them recognize abuse, so many of the calls were unnecessary, said Haven Evans, who was director of the hotline from 2013 to 2016. Any time there is a high-profile child sex abuse scandal, it prompts a spike in tips because people become hyper-aware of the issue, Evans said. But the changes in state law amplified that effect dramatically.
From The Tribune-Democrat, October 4, 2021