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Lawmakers send 5 measures to Corbett targeting child abuse

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By The Associated Press
Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, 8:54 p.m.
 

HARRISBURG — The first bills in the Pennsylvania Legislature's wide-ranging response to the Jerry Sandusky and the Roman Catholic clergy scandals were sent on Wednesday to Gov. Tom Corbett, a year after a commission recommended sweeping changes to the state's child abuse laws.

The Senate unanimously approved five measures for Corbett, and a sixth was expected to get House approval next week. One bill headed to Corbett's desk would expand the definition of who investigators can consider a potential perpetrator of child abuse to include relatives who do not live in the same residence as the child and coaches or people who are in contact with children through community programs or activities.

Roughly 20 measures are part of the legislative package designed to overhaul the way child abuse is defined, investigated and punished in Pennsylvania.

Sen. LeAnna Washington, D-Philadelphia, a survivor of child abuse, said she is proud of the work that the Legislature has done.

“Passing this legislation will ensure that every case of suspected child abuse is properly investigated, bringing abusers to justice and helping families and victims heal,” Washington told colleagues.

Washington's bill, which also passed on Wednesday, would lower the threshold for the kind of injury to a child that could trigger child welfare workers to summon a medical examiner.

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