The recent scandal at Penn State University is both shocking and troubling. That high level officials of a such a prestigious university would allegedly overlook or cover-up allegations of the sexual abuse of a child is truly reprehensible. Notwithstanding the intense media coverage of these events, each of those accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty. But how does the scandal at Penn State tie into Texas employment law? Here is the nexus.
Texas, like many other states, is a mandatory reporting state when it comes to the suspected abuse or neglect of a child. Every person who has cause to believe that a child is being abused or neglected is required to report it. Certain Texas professionals are required to report with 48 hours. Similarly, federal law requires employers and IT professionals to report violations of involving child pornography on employer computers to the Cyber Tip Line at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (who will in turn report to the appropriate law enforcement agencies). Employers and employees must understand their legal reporting requirements.
Employees and employers who believe that child abuse or neglect is occurring or that an employer’s computer system possess child pornography should immediately report their concern to the in-house legal department or human resources and also to the NCMEC, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services or another appropriate law enforcement agency. Failure to do so may subject the employer and employee to significant criminal jeopardy, fines and a a potential Penn State size media catastrophe –not to mention delaying an end to the abuse of the child.
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