Revised reporting law could protect children from abuse

  • About 200 people, some former students of the Catholic Community School, attended a candlelight vigil to remember the victims of teacher John Merzbacher, who was convicted of sexual and mental abuse of one of his students and accused of harming dozens more children.
About 200 people, some former students of the Catholic Community… (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore…)
November 29, 2012

As an independent child advocate of almost 20 years in Maryland, I agree that we need to strengthen its reporting laws and extend the statue of limitations for victims to come forward ("Uncovering the abusers," Nov. 28). The John Merzbacher case is a prime example of an institution looking the other way and protecting itself rather than the victims. We saw this repeated with Boy Scouts and Penn State. Our understanding of serial child sexual abuse is that it is everywhere, that is, in all institutions, and unless we do something to strengthen reporting laws and extend the statue of limitations for victims, it will continue unabated.

As adult citizens and legislators, we have the power to reform the system and truly protect children. It is my sincere hope that the 2013 session of the Maryland General Assembly, especially the House of Delegates and particularly House Judiciary Committee, passes legislation that brings Maryland up to the standards needed to do so.

I appreciate The Sun editorial bringing this critical matter to light.

Patricia Ranney, Millersville

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