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Sandusky trial prompts passage of new child sex abuse laws in Louisiana

Our Baton Rouge readers have likely heard by now of the sexual abuse trial against former Penn. State coach Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky has been charged with 52 counts of child sex abuse involve 10 alleged victims. The alleged incidents span a 15-year time period up through the mid-1990s. The charges, of course, are most serious, and could result in lifetime imprisonment.

Those who have followed the case know that Sandusky's response has been an acknowledgement that he horsed around with the alleged victims, showered with them after workouts, and had physical contact with them. While admitting that some of his behavior was not correct, he has maintained that the never acted with sexual intent and is not guilty.

Sandusky's attorneys have focused their defense on the flimsy nature of the allegations, along with the financial motivation behind the allegations. Inconsistent testimony has been pointed out and the credibility of victims has been called into question.

Sandusky's defense team has also suggested that histrionic personality disorder may be behind Sandusky's behavior involving the boys. The condition is one in which an individual acts in a dramatic or emotional way in order to draw attention to himself.

The State of Louisiana, responding to the case, has worked on passing a handful of laws which would penalize those who fail to report allegations of child sex abuse and protect those who do report. Three of those bills have already been signed into law. One of them protects individuals from employer retaliation, while two other penalize those who fail to report law enforcement. The other one adds certain classes of athletics coaches to the list of those required to report suspected child abuse.

 Child sexual abuse is a serious charge, and those facing such charges need to bring a strong defense early on in the process. Because of the nature of the crime and the consequences of conviction, it is important to hold prosecutors to their full burden of proof and utilize all available defenses and defense strategies.

Source: NECN, "Penn State sex-abuse charges inspire new La. laws," June 9, 2012

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