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Franklin County legislator authors bill enhancing penalties for adults who harm minors

Measure is based on recommendations of Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection that was created in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal

February 13, 2013
  • Pa. Rep. Todd Rock, R-Franklin
Pa. Rep. Todd Rock, R-Franklin

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — A bill that would enhance penalties for adults who physically attack and/or harm minors unanimously passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives this week.

House Bill 350 was authored by state Rep. Todd Rock, R-Franklin.

The measure was drafted by Rock based on the recommendations of the Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection that was created by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal, according to a news release.

If signed into law, anyone 18 years of age 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 brought if an adult attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes serious bodily injury to a child younger than 12, the release stated.

Another section of the bill provides for even further criminal charges and penalties if the child is younger than 4, the release stated.

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“The Sandusky scandal at Penn State was greatly disturbing to me as well as millions of Americans,” Rock said in the release. “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.”

The measure now moves to the Pennsylvania Senate for consideration.

Under current law, causing bodily injury to a child younger than 12 is a first-degree misdemeanor if the perpetrator is 21 years of age or older. Otherwise, it is a second-degree misdemeanor, according to a bill summary.

Causing bodily injury to anyone is a second-degree felony unless committed under circumstances with extreme indifference to the value of human life or other circumstances. Causing bodily injury to a child younger than 4 is a first-degree misdemeanor if the perpetrator is 21 years old or older.

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