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Nixon signs bill requiring officials to report suspected child abuse to the state

07/09/2013 12:43 PM

07/09/2013 12:45 PM

Gov. Jay Nixon

has signed a bill requiring so-called “mandatory reporters” to notify the state directly if they have reasonable cause to suspect child abuse or neglect.

Mandatory reporters include doctors, dentists, and other health care providers; day care workers, juvenile or parole officers, school officials, priests and ministers, and police.

Under the old law, the governor’s office said, mandatory reporters who suspected abuse were allowed to report the incident to designated others within their organizations. Now they’ll be required to report the concerns directly to the state’s Children’s Division in the Department of Social Services.

The issue of reporting sexual abuse was a central concern in the criminal case involving Bishop

Robert Finn of Kansas City and child abuser Shawn Ratigan

.

Finn eventually conceded he was a mandated reporter, but failed to report concerns about Ratigan’s collection pornographic images of children. He was found guilty of failing to report the abuse.

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