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Va. House panel backs child abuse reporting bill

Thursday - 2/2/2012, 10:56am  ET

RICHMOND, Va. - Legislation that spells out the duties and deadlines of college coaches and others to report evidence of child abuse and punish those who don't has won a House committee's overwhelming endorsement.

The three bills are Virginia's response to the alleged child abuse that rocked Penn State's mighty football program and forced the downfall of its late, legendary coach, Joe Paterno.

The bills advanced to the House floor Thursday on unanimous votes.

Together, they place statutory requirements on coaches, recreation specialists, youth volunteers and others to report suspected child abuse to law enforcement and other authorities. The legislation also shortens the deadline from 72 hours to just 24.

At Penn State, a former assistant football coach is accused of sexually abusing boys for years at the university's athletic facilities. Authorities say Paterno and others had been aware of it.

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