'Sweeping' changes 'a major problem'

Thursday, November 29, 2012
Chad Groening (OneNewsNow.com)

A Pennsylvania pro-family activist is concerned about the prospect of parents in the state no longer being allowed to spank their children.

A commission set up by the Pennsylvania Legislature after Jerry Sandusky's molestation arrest last year says "sweeping" changes to state law are needed. Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach, is currently serving a state prison sentence for sexually abusing children.

The Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection says the state should change how child abuse cases are handled, revamp how child abuse crimes are investigated, and improve training for those responsible for child welfare. The definition of "perpetrator" would be expanded greatly, and penalties would be harsher for people who do not report abuse.

Gramley, Diane (AFA of Pennsylvania)While Diane Gramley, president of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania, agrees that children need to be protected from molestation and abuse, she feels the task force is going too far.

"There may need to be changes made, or maybe we just need to enforce existing laws better," she suggests. "The situation with Sandusky -- that main problem was at Penn State. I think that needs to be dealt with on that level, and I don't think they need to be looking at sweeping changes to the entire state law. I think that's going to be a major problem if they do that."

Gramley is particularly troubled that the group is recommending that the state eliminate a requirement that children have to experience severe pain in order for something to be classified as abuse under the law.

"Does that mean that a parent will not be able to discipline their child? Will a parent not be able to spank their child, or even smack their hand if the child is doing something wrong?" the activist wonders. "I see parental rights being walked all over if this isn't done very carefully."

Overall, Gramley is concerned that Pennsylvania will follow Delaware, which has already outlawed spanking. She intends to express her concerns to conservative members of the state legislature.

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