Tennessee’s Sexual Abuse Reporting Statute

Penn State University’s settlement of the cases involving Jerry Sandusky reminds us of our moral and legal obligation to protect children from sexual predators.   One of the hallmarks of a civilized society is how we treat the lesser amongst us.  Obviously, by the use of the term “lesser”, I do not mean to imply less worthy. I mean those whose well-being is dependent upon the protection and care of others i.e., the sick, the elderly and our children. 

In Tennessee, ANY PERSON who knows or has reasonable cause to suspect a child has been sexually abused MUST report the knowledge or suspicion to the any of the following:

a.      The judge having juvenile jurisdiction;

b.      The office of the sheriff or the chief law enforcement official of the municipality;

c.      The Department of Children Services

d.      If there is reasonable cause to believe the child died as a result of the sexual abuse, the suspicion must be reported to the medical examiner.

e.      If the sexual abuse occurred on private or public school or child care facility grounds, a report must be made to the principal or other school official who must follow the reporting requirements above AND notify the child’s parents.

Any individual who in good faith reports suspected child abuse is provided immunity (i.e., not liable in any civil or criminal action). And, good faith is presumed by the statute.  

Truly, there is no excuse for failing to report the suspected abuse or sexual abuse of a child. And, the law should hold those who fail to do so responsible for their conduct. At The Law Offices of John Day, P.C., our experienced attorneys have successfully handled sexual abuse cases against therapists, school bus drivers, neighbors of the victim, camp counselors and priests. If you would like to discuss a sexual abuse case, please call us anytime for a free, confidential consultation. Our toll-free number is 866-812-8787 or you can fill out this form and we will call you. But, do not delay. A victim is afforded only a limited time to pursue his or her rights.

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