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South Carolina Child Molestation Laws

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Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect

South Carolina Ann. Code § 63-7-310 sets forth a list of professionals required to report suspected child abuse and neglect (including sexual abuse) to authorities. These professionals include medical and mental health care professionals, members of the clergy, school employees and teachers, social workers, foster parents, law enforcement officers, commercial film and photo processors, judges, and guardians ad litem.

In addition, any other person who has reason to believe that a child’s physical or mental health or welfare has been or may be adversely affected by abuse and neglect may report, and is encouraged to report.

Failure to report may result in a misdemeanor.

Sexual Abuse and Exploitation

South Carolina Ann. Code § 63-7-20 provides that ‘child abuse or neglect’ or ‘harm’ occurs when the parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the child’s welfare:

  • Inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon the child physical or mental injury or engages in acts or omissions that present a substantial risk of physical or mental injury to the child, including injuries sustained as a result of excessive corporal punishment
  • Abandons the child
  • Encourages, condones, or approves the commission of delinquent acts by the child and the commission of the acts are shown to be the result of the encouragement or approval
  • Has committed abuse or neglect as described above such that a child who subsequently becomes part of the person’s household is at substantial risk of one of those forms of abuse or neglect

‘Physical injury’ means death or permanent or temporary disfigurement or impairment of any bodily organ or function.

‘Child abuse or neglect’ or ‘harm’ occurs when the parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the child’s welfare commits or allows to be committed against the child a sexual offense as defined by the laws of this State or engages in acts or omissions that present a substantial risk that a sexual offense as defined in the laws of this State would be committed against the child.

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