MO- SNAP responds to new state abuse recommendations

Getting rid of the criminal statute of limitations is a good start, but the civil statute should be gotten rid of too.

Victims themselves have the greatest knowledge of the crimes and the greatest incentives to prevent more of them. So archaic, predator-friendly laws that keep victims from exposing criminals in civil court should also be revoked.

Criminal cases involve overburdened and underfunded police and prosecutors. They also require a higher burden of proof.  And many times, if a child has been hurt by an authority figure, he or she is reluctant to trust other authority figures. So many child molesters are never caught or charged.

That’s another reason why it’s important to enable more victims to seek justice in civil courts. Kids are safest when predators are locked up. But when that can’t happen, it’s also helpful to publicly expose those who commit or conceal child sex crimes.

Regarding changes in mandatory reporting laws, we aren’t optimistic.

Sadly, few prosecutors charge complicit adults with failure to report suspected child sex crimes. And penalties for that offense are slight. So changes to the mandated reporter law won’t make much difference.

Still, we support eliminating the “middle man” and requiring adults to call law enforcement, not a work supervisor, when a child may be abused. Often, when an employee tells a manager about potential crimes, the cover up begins. And often, this gives predators time to intimidate victims, threaten witnesses, discredit whistleblowers, destroy evidence and fabricate alibis.

We are very grateful to the compassionate men and women who devoted hundreds of hours to this crucial task. We’ll be even more grateful if lawmakers act on these recommendations. And we’ll be more grateful still if further steps are taken that will do more to prevent heinous child sex crimes and deter officials from hiding them.

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