Protect Children From Predators

Later this month, a task force formed to find ways the West Virginia Legislature can protect children from sexual predators is to vote on recommendations.

Members of the panel seem to be focusing on education. Children need to understand sexual abuse and not be afraid to report it. Educators need to be able to spot the signs of abuse to help their students.

Those things go without saying, though it has to be noted that many child abuse situations already are reported by teachers.

Members of the task force should go beyond the education aspect of the problem, however, with other suggestions for lawmakers.

One ought to be ensuring that sexual predators are punished severely and kept out of circulation as long as possible to protect potential new victims. That conclusion was made easy to reach a few weeks ago, when a Huntington man who sexually abused a child repeatedly was set free without having to spend a day in prison.

Members of the task force are right to want to ensure no child abuse situation goes unreported. Helping victims and punishing predators also needs to be part of equation, however.