Mandatory Child Abuse Reporter Suffers Consequences of Delaying Reporting Allegations of Abuse to Pursue His Own Investigation First

Under Missouri (and many other states’) law, a school principal must report suspected abuse of a child.

Student complains to Missouri principal of sexual abuse allegedly perpetrated on her by a teacher.

Principal undertakes investigation of facts prior to reporting abuse, allegedly based on past incidents calling student’s credibility into question.

Aging principal loses his job and is criminally convicted because he delayed making his mandatory abuse report during his investigation.

Bottom line: mandatory reporting laws are to protect children, not possible abusers.

It is not for those mandatory reporters who have reason to suspect possible abuse to determine whether a possible abuser is actually guilty.

The mandatory reporters’ obligation is to report – and leave it to the investigating and legal experts (child welfare agencies and prosecutors) to investigate and, if appropriate, pursue legal cases.

Read more in this St. Louis Post-Dispatch article: Principal is not judge or jury, just the reporter and this St. Louis Post-Dispatch article: Failure to report sex abuse charge ends St. Louis principal’s career.