Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden has established himself as something of a national expert on child sex-abuse cases, starting with his aggressive and successful prosecution of a pediatrician convicted of sexual contact with more than 80 children.
On ABC’s “Top Line” today, Biden, D-Del., told us that the scandal involving football and university officials at Penn State is part of a “national problem” that’s particularly difficult to tackle in states – like Pennsylvania – that don’t have criminal repercussions for those who don’t report child sex abuse.
“The nation and Americans need to realize that one out of four girls is sexually assaulted before they’re 18. One out of six boys is sexually assaulted before they’re 18. Only one out of 10 of those victims ever reports their crimes,” Biden told me and John Berman.
“This is a national problem. And unfortunately what’s happened in the tragedy that’s befallen the victims up at Penn State and College Station highlights a tragedy that exists everyday in America that sometimes those people don’t want to face.”
States should update their laws to make it a crime to not report suspected child sex abuse, he said.
“The law in Delaware is that anyone who reasonably believes a child that is being abused, they see it and they reasonably believe such, they have to report it to law enforcement. If they don’t, there are consequences,” he said. “It’s adults’ responsibility to protect kids. It’s not the kids’ responsibility to protect themselves from these predators…. There need to be consequences for violating the law.”
On a lighter note, we asked Biden if he ever cringes when his father – Vice President Joe Biden – makes some of his famous misstatements.
“No, never,” he said. “Look, my father is a great listener. If you talk to any of the kids I grew up with who consider my father a second dad to them, my dad is a great, great listener — a better listener than he is a speaker. Happen to also think he’s one of the greatest speakers and orators of his generation. And on top of that, he’s a phenomenal dad.”
“Look, if I’m half as good a dad to my two kids as my dad’s been to me and my brother, my kids will be in good shape. I’ve got a dad who I think is one of the finest vice presidents our country’s seen, but he’s even a better father.”