mandatory child abuse and neglect reporting statute

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George Blessing, a staff psychologist at Cranston High School West, is accused of failing to report allegations to child welfare authorities of, “sexual abuse of a child in an educational program.” Blessing is the first person to face charges under Rhode Island’s newly amended child abuse reporting law. A hearing on a motion to dismiss the trial, as well as the potential start of the trial itself had to be postponed, after the prosecutor from the Attorney General's office fell ill. The trial has been rescheduled for early January.

Elisabeth Harrison

House lawmakers have scheduled a committee hearing Wednesday on a bill that would add schools to Rhode Island’s mandatory child abuse reporting law.

The bill was filed in response to a sexual abuse scandal at St. George’s School in Middletown, after it became clear the school had failed to report numerous allegations of sexual abuse. The incidents span several decades and involve several former faculty members and one current employee.

Elisabeth Harrison

In the aftermath of the sex abuse scandal at St. George's School, Rhode Island lawmakers are considering legislation that would close a loophole in the state’s mandatory child abuse reporting law.

The loophole, first reported by Rhode Island Public Radio, seems to allow schools and other institutions to avoid reporting abuse allegations against their employees.