Originally on CBS 17

July 31, 2019

If you know about it and don’t report it you could soon find yourself being charged. A new law is making its way through the state legislature that makes it a crime to not report the sexual abuse of a child. 

Larry Nassar is currently serving a prison sentence of 175 years after being accused of molesting at least 250 young women during his time at Michigan State. 

Dr. Nassar’s victims included a number of olympic gymnasts. The fact it went unreported for so long is exactly why Attorney General Josh Stein and state legislators are trying to keep anything like that from happening in North Carolina. “There were people in that administration who knew it. They did nothing to put a stop to it. They have a legal duty if someone is engaged in that kind of action to notify law enforcement so that we can protect young people” AG Stein told CBS 17.

The Safe Child Act has broad bi-partisan support. It will make it a misdemeanor to not report knowledge of a juvenile who is the victim of violence and sexual abuse. It also makes it illegal for a high-risk sex offender to communicate with someone online who they believe is under 16 years old. 

Currently, a victim of child sexual abuse can only go after their predator in civil court until the victim reaches the age of 21 years old. This new law extends that statute of limitation to age 38. 

“From 12 to 16 to be in an emotional place where they can bring a civil action for all the damage they suffered by the age of 21 it’s unrealistic in fact science tells us its unrealistic. The trauma takes too long for the brain to process” said AG Stein.