Hagens Berman Blog

Sexual Harassment News: PA Youth Groups, OH Boy Scouts, Catholic League


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Youth groups are skirting Pa. law intended to protect children from abuse in wake of Penn State scandal


In response to the devastating Penn State child sexual-abuse scandal, the state legislature passed landmark reforms that, as of 2015, required anyone working with children — including volunteers — to undergo a series of background checks.

The goal was to prevent those with certain criminal records or a history of abuse from gaining access to minors through youth programs.

Now, five years after the law took effect, there are signs it isn’t working as intended, and organizations are able to skirt the rules and face few, if any, consequences, according to a two-month review by the news organizations. read more »

Former Ohio Boy Scout sentenced to 30 years in prison for child sexual exploitation charges


A former Richland County Boy Scout leader was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison Wednesday after being convicted of sexual exploitation of children and receiving and distributing child pornography.

The judge also ordered Thomas Close, who was the Boy Scout leader of Troop 406 in Shelby, to be on probation and register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Close was known as “Aqua Joe” to scouts and parents, because he was a swim instructor as well as a troop leader. read more »

Catholic League blasts bill on clergy abuse, accuses lawmaker of trying to ‘police the sacraments of the Catholic Church’

FOX 13

A group dedicated to defending the Catholic Church and its traditions is blasting a lawmaker for a bill that essentially removes the clergy exemption for reporting disclosures of abuse.

The letter was written to Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, who is sponsoring House Bill 90, which removes the “priest-penitent privilege” and requires clergy to contact law enforcement. read more »