Legendary football coach Joe Paterno is at the center of a sex abuse case rocking Penn State and now he's been fired along with university president Graham Spanier. It must be pointed out that Paterno is not charged with any crimes at this time, but a former assistant coach under his direction is charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse against several minors.
Now questions are being raised about who knew about the abuse and how long they knew about the abuse .
In Illinois, along with several other states, there are laws on the books regarding who is a mandatory reporter of suspected child abuse.
Clairice Hetzler has been the executive director of the Advocacy Network for Children , www.advonet.org, based in Quincy Illinois for the past 13 years. She says the mindset about reporting child abuse has changed. It's no longer something that is just handled as she calls it 20 or 30 years ago. There is now more awareness and there are more safeguards in place to notify the proper authorities if someone suspects a case of sexual abuse.
"The list is pretty long when it comes to mandated reporters and most of the people that are mandated reporters should know that. We do training along with DCFS and law enforcement, we do it as a team. So we go into the schools and medical to make sure people do know what their responsibilities are for mandated reporting," said Hetzler.
Hetzler says if a person suspects something they should report it. She says her agency and even the police would rather investigate a report that turns out to be nothing, then to allow a case of abuse to continue and not have it come to the attention of those people who can help the child.
Click here to access the Advocacy Network for Children website to see who the mandated reporters are under Illinois law.