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Two women fight for law to make child abuse registry open

PHOTO PROVIDED This combination photo shows Donna M. Kshir, left, and Lee Roberts.

longer private and are fighting to open it just as the sex offenders’ registry is for the public under Megan’s Law.

Donna M. Kshir and Lee Roberts, both grandmothers, want people to be able to search offenders by name and location, according to Lexi Howard, an assistant and spokeswoman for Kshir and Roberts.

The grandmothers are seeking legislation to become law that would require the State Police to open the current private computerized database of individuals convicted of child abuse offenses in the state, including their name, date of birth, the tier of the crime and the location the crime took place which is often needed to find court records.

Past and latest efforts

Since 2015, Kshir and Roberts have been trying to get the child abuse registry to be open.

“They believe opening the central registry will give parents the opportunity to protect their children from the unknown,” Howard said.

Their latest effort includes a scheduled meeting on May 14 with state Rep. Stephanie Borowicz, R-McElhattan, to see if they can get her support and sponsorship of legislation.

A prior meeting with Denise Maris, a Democrat candidate for the 76th District for state representative, resulted in Maris’ pledge of support of the proposal should she be elected.

Should the bill pass into law, the women would like it to be named Anson’s Law, after 9-year-old Anson Stover who suffered unspeakable abuse, was placed into a bathtub, and died from the injuries inflicted on him at the hands of his aunt.

The two started campaigning to open the child abuse central registry after 2-year-old Conner Bachuss lost his life to child abuse.

Kshir used her influence as an author and advocate seeking Conner’s Law alongside Conner’s mother, Mashanna Bachuss-Waggoner, to get justice for the toddler.

Conner’s Law became law, with a signature from Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear in March 2015. Manslaughter in the first degree, which carries a 10-20 year sentence, now includes fatal child abuse. Abusers have to serve 85% of that sentence before being released.

The Kentucky toddler’s killer, Ronald Saunders II, suffered from violence in his background, but his past was hidden on the private registry.

After serving 5 ½ years in prison, on a plea deal, for torturing and killing the toddler, Saunders was released from prison and re-offended abusing another child within a month of his release.

Four types of child abuse include neglect, physical, emotional and sexual abuse. In some countries, using corporal punishment is regarded as child abuse.

One study recorded in MedicalNews Today has suggested that 1 in 4 children experience some kind of neglect or abuse at some time.

Children who may have experienced abuse should visit a doctor or hospital, as physical medical help or counseling may be needed.

Anyone who believes they are abusing, have abused, or might abuse a child should remove themselves from the child and place the child somewhere safe, for example, by asking someone else to look after them, then find someone to confide in. Counseling may be necessary.

There are helplines available, and the local police or health services can help. Calls can be made anonymously. The appropriate people will take action to investigate.

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