PADUCAH — Merryman House Executive Director Mary Foley has helped victims of abuse for many years. She's very familiar with State Statute KRS 620.030, which requires adults to report abuse of a minor. Foley says, in her experience, there has never been confusion about what the law means.
"This law specifically says that any adult who suspects that a child has been abused or neglected make a report," says Foley.
A recent interpretation of the law by McCracken County Attorney Sam Clymer, though, suggests that if the abuse is student on student, then it's not required to be reported to law enforcement.
Foley says it's essential that the law be interpreted correctly for the sake of students' safety.
"If there is confusion, it needs to be cleared up. But the law is critical, and the law is clear. And it does put us in difficult places. And it's hard sometimes to do, but it's not as hard as recovering from sexual assault, domestic violence, or from not being protected when adults had a job and they did not do it," says Foley.
Local Attorney Bard Brian recently sent a letter to Attorney General Andy Beshear asking him to assist with interpreting the state statute on reporting abuse. Foley says she hopes the attorney general can make it abundantly clear what the law says and requires.
"It's important for there to be clarity, so I appreciate the efforts to have the attorney general review any type of confusion that affects, you know, our kids, and sometimes as serious as interpersonal crimes of sexual assault, or dating violence or child abuse," says Foley.