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Md. House panel eyes penalties for not reporting child abuse

February 11th, 2017 by WCBC Radio

Sometimes trying to solve a problem can have unintended consequences.

And those potential consequences had the House Judiciary Committee grappling for answers Thursday, as members debated a bill from Del. Brett Wilson, R-Washington, that would make knowing of child abuse and not reporting it a criminal misdemeanor.

Wilson's bill would punish anyone who willfully fails to report child abuse with up to a year of imprisonment and/or a $1,000 fine.

 

Although Maryland law requires a number of professionals to report child abuse, including teachers, police officers, health care practitioners and others, Wilson's bill goes further. It would make anyone who knows about abuse but doesn't report it liable.

The bill addresses intentional acts, said Steven Kroll, the executive director of the Maryland State's Attorneys' Association who testified in favor of the bill.

Even so, committee members worried about who could get caught up in the law if the bill were passed.

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