Pa. House Approves Child Abuse Bills

Bills come in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

Tuesday, Feb 12, 2013  |  Updated 6:16 PM EDT
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Pa. House Approves Child Abuse Bills

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Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse after being sentenced in his child sex abuse case on Oct. 9, 2012 in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. The 68-year-old Sandusky was sentenced to at least 30 years and not more that 60 years in prison for his conviction in June on 45 counts of child sexual abuse, including while he was the defensive coordinator for the Penn State college football team. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is sending the state Senate several bills aimed at improving the safety of children.

The House voted unanimously Tuesday to help set up child advocacy centers, to make judges more aware when a child has been the subject of a protection from abuse order, and to make it a separate crime to intimidate or retaliate against a witness, victim or reporter of child abuse.

Current Pennsylvania law applies only to witnesses and victims in a criminal investigation. The new law would apply in noncriminal investigations.

The proposals are in response to the Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection's recommendations in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal.

The child advocacy centers would be funded by a $15 fee from criminal defendants.

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