Monday, November 5, 2007

School health centers didn't report underage sex

Posted at the Portland Press Herald.

Portland's school-based health centers have not been reporting all illegal sexual activity involving minors as required by law, but they will from now on, city officials said Thursday.
Cumberland County District Attorney Stephanie Anderson questioned the health centers' reporting practices after the Portland School Committee decided last week to offer prescription birth control at the King Middle School health center.

The King Student Health Center has offered comprehensive reproductive health care, including providing condoms and testing for sexually transmitted diseases, since it opened in 2000. The school serves students in grades 6 to 8, ages 11 to 15.

Maine law prohibits having sex with a person under age 14, regardless of the age of the other person involved, Anderson said.

A health care provider must report all known or suspected cases of sex with minors age 13 and under to the state Department of Health and Human Services, she said. Abuse also must be reported to the appropriate district attorney's office, Anderson said, when the suspected perpetrator is someone other than the minor's parent or guardian.

"When it's somebody under age 14, it is a crime and it must be reported," Anderson said. "The health care provider has no discretion in the matter. It's up to the district attorney to decide."

I'm completely disgusted at people who think that they simply know better then everyone else and then proceed to use this divinely imparted knowledge to defy the law and cover up child abuse. Schools and faculty that have defied the law regarding reporting underage sex deserve to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. That is the only way that we can begin to reduce these occurrences and hopefully deter others from trying the same.

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