HARRISBURG, Feb. 10, 2012 — As the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse case prepares to go to trial, state Sen. Lisa Boscola today said her legislation to further protect children from convicted sexual offenders is needed.

“Sexual abuse and sexual violence, especially against children, is often veiled in silence, but the Jerry Sandusky case has brought this heinous crime to everyone’s attention,” said Boscola (D-Lehigh/Monroe/Northampton). “This is an important time for all of us to take a look at our current laws and see how we can improve them so that we can prevent these offenses. In particular, my legislation puts up a strong barrier around our schools and bus stops.”

Her legislation, Senate Bill 1378, would ban “Megan’s Law” sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of any school, day care center, recreation center or playground — and a minimum of 500 feet from school bus stops. The bill would also require school directors to consult the Megan’s Law registry when they review and choose school bus routes.

“Although sex offenders are required to register and provide their residence address, there are no current restrictions on where they can reside,” Boscola said. “It is not enough to notify a school district if a known predator lives within a mile of a school. There must be stricter guidelines to protect our children.”  

Nineteen other states currently have residency limitations on sexual registrants but Pennsylvania would become the first state in the nation to extend this protective zone to bus stops if this bill became law.

“Many children who are sexual abuse victims are afraid to tell anyone and, sadly, live with this abuse for years. We as a society must be advocates for all of our children,” Boscola said. “This legislation takes preventative steps to ensure that our children are going to school safely and learning in a safe environment.”

The bill is currently awaiting consideration in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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