Bill could keep child abuse information and state’s response to it hidden

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INDIANAPOLIS, IND. (WPTA 21) – An Indiana Senate bill is set to be voted on next week.

The bill could keep information about child abuse, and the state’s response to it hidden from you.

Senate bill 551 is a convoluted bill, proposing changed to criminal law ranging from registration periods for sex offenders.

But, a new addition to the bill caught the eye of Niki Kelly, a statehouse reporter for the Journal Gazette.

Kelly says the new amendment to the bill would repeal the law that requires child services to give anyone access to their records in cases when children die from abuse.

Kelly says the amendment comes after her paper published hundreds of case files form a high-profile [Malakai Garrett] child abuse death.

The DCS reports showed child services checked in on the child more than once.

The judge requested a jury from another county.

A lobbyist told lawmakers that the judge who released those records to the Gazette mistakenly included autopsy photos.

The Gazette says it never received those photos, but the lobbyist’s concerns prompted the change to the bill none the less.

“I think it’s the whole taking a sledgehammer when something smaller might work. It appears someone made a mistake in this case. I don’t think that since there is one mistake, that that should close access for everyone in the entire state,” said Kelly.

Kelly adds it’s an issue of public transparency, saying some of these cases are hard to prove, and often times go cold, and the investigation can go on forever.

Which essentially would stall the release of public records indefinitely.

The bill is set to be voted on Tuesday at 9:30.


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Kaitlyn Kendall

Kaitlyn Kendall

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