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Miller Wants Hearings on Child-Abuse Laws After Penn State

By Alyson Klein — November 17, 2011 1 min read
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There could be congressional hearings in the wake of alleged child-abuse crimes at Penn State University, if U.S. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, has his way.

Miller today sent a letter to Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the committee’s chairman, asking him to call a hearing into whether Congress needs to consider changes to federal laws designed to protect students.

And Miller isn’t concerned only about the situation at Penn State. He’s worried about another recent revelation at the Citadel, in Charleston, S.C., which also involved alleged sexual abuse of children that wasn’t reported to police.

“Potential weaknesses in specific laws designed to keep children safe have come to light in the wake of the alleged sexual crimes committed on the campuses of the Pennsylvania State University and the Citadel,” Rep. Miller wrote. “Our inquiry should not seek to parallel, replicate, or interfere with those efforts; rather, we must examine the ongoing operation of the underlying federal laws to identify any vulnerabilities and better ensure against future risks to children.”

Miller is specificially interested in looking at two federal laws: the Clery Act, which requires post-secondary institutions to collect and report on crimes that happen on campus, and the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, which requires states to establish laws on reporting child abuse.

Kline is monitoring the Penn State situation and will decide whether Congress should take further steps after the U.S. Department of Education finishes its investigation into the matter, said his spokeswoman, Alexandra Sollberger.