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Mo. sex abuse task force releases recommendations

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 3, 2013 at 6:59 pm •  Published: January 3, 2013
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Additional proposed law changes would specify that mandated reporters submit information about suspected abuse as soon as reasonably possible and would eliminate the statute of limitations for prosecuting cases of first-degree statutory rape and first-degree statutory sodomy. The suggested state constitutional amendment would allow prosecutors to introduce evidence of a similar crime against a different victim. Advocates say allowances can be made in federal court and some other states, and would allow prosecutors to demonstrate a pattern of behavior.

Other recommendations would not require state law changes. The task force suggested early intervention and treatment for youth who engage in illegal or inappropriate sexual behavior and expanded mental health services for children who have been sexually abused. It also advised developing standardized training for all mandated abuse reporters, noting they frequently have received little or no instruction.

The committee suggested a statewide public awareness campaign for child sex abuse and urged schools and organizations that serve youth to establish child protection policies. The task force said most recommendations require some funding and urged the Legislature to consider targeting more money for combatting child sex abuse.

"We need awareness and vigilance from the statehouse to the schools and to our houses of worship," said Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield. "The wake-up call has been sounded."

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Online:

Task force report: http://bit.ly/S7x7S4