Lawmakers push mandatory reporting laws following Skip Reville investigation
By Rebecca Ryan
Thursday, June 14, 2012
The Skip Reville case was blown wide open when a few young boys overheard friends talking and knew something wasn't quite right.
“They went to their parents and that mom didn't say, ‘it's none of my business, it didn't happen to my child,’ she reached out,” Scarlett Wilson, Charleston County Solicitor, said.
Wilson said that parent called another parent, who called another parent, and soon the gross reality that the bible study leader and coach was molesting young boys slapped an entire community in the face.
“The shame of it is we could have done a similar investigating ten years ago,” Wilson told News 2.
Since the story broke, one victim filed a lawsuit against Reville's former employer Pinewood Preparatory School in Summerville for not reporting his allegations that Reville touched him and other kids.
The school vehemently denies the claims, though current state laws requires a teacher, counselor, or principals to report any such claims.
Court documents also show one parent dismissed her son who claimed Reville was “a pervert”.
Solicitor Wilson said often adults dismiss the claims without reporting them since on the surface there doesn’t appear to be evidence to support claims, but Wilson said anyone with inkling something isn't quite right, should always report it.
“When children come forward, whether there is a legal duty, I think it's a moral duty for us to support them,” she said.
Soon, it may be a law.
News 2 dug deep into the current law to see who is required to report children’s claims of sexual abuse. The current law includes a long list of mandatory reporters from medical professionals to film processors.
A bill introduced in SC House of Representatives in January would require anyone, by law, to report information if a child has been abused or neglected.
“There are two aspects of something like this. There is a moral aspect and a legal aspect. Unfortunately, there are people who don’t follow the same morals and don’t feel like this crime needs to be reported,” said bill sponsor, Peter McCoy.
McCoy worked as a prosecutor in the solicitor’s office before being elected to the House of Representatives. He said he plans to refile the bill in the next session because it didn’t make it through the judiciary committee and the legislative process before the session ended.
“This law pushes what people should do already, but it puts it into law that if you know something you have to report this kind of abuse,” McCoy explained.
Fewer than 20 states have mandatory reporting laws.
So far, McCoy said most legislators are behind the law.