SC law tough on those who don't report abuse

LEXINGTON (WACH) - Whether you're a nurse, social worker, even a funeral home director you TMre required to call law enforcement as soon as you see or hear knowledge of a sexual assault against a child. "Reporting to your supervisor or someone in your company would not meet the definition in South Carolina," said Lexington County Sheriff James Metts. "You would actually have to report what you've seen to law enforcement."

Those who turn the other way could face punishment almost as harsh as what the offender receives. The law is broad; yet very specific. "It deals with both sexual and physical assault, or physical abuse, or neglect," adds Metts. There is a similar law in Pennsylvania where Penn State University is dealing with the fallout from sexual assault allegations against former coach Jerry Sandusky. The school's president and legendary coach Joe Paterno were fired Wednesday after some questioned whether they did enough to report the alleged crimes. In South Carolina, the law is geared toward protecting those who can't protect themselves.

"Normally the situations that we get involved in, whether it's abuse, sexual or otherwise it's normally children that are real young, of course there's cases with older children."

No matter what the case Metts points out you are legally required to report it or risk breaking the law yourself.