More than a month after Jerry Sandusky was arrested on child molestation charges, a new law went on the books in Pennsylvania on Tuesday expanding the state's institutional sexual assault offense.
Flanked by lawmakers and state troopers, Gov. Tom Corbett signed the bill to revise the state's version of Megan's Law and bring Pennsylvania into compliance with federal sex-offender registration standards.
"We can hope that by making our laws tougher, we can spare others the pain and grief that has visited too many families," Corbett said in the Capitol.
The law gives state prosecutors changes they had long sought to enforce Megan's Law registration requirements for homeless people and those convicted in other states.
It also expands the crime of institutional sexual assault so that it applies employees, volunteers and other adults who work with children in schools or other centers. That offense had previously applied to prison guards and people who work in mental and juvenile facilities run by the Department of Public Welfare, according to the Corbett administration.
That change was in the works before the arrest of Sandusky, although the floor vote to amend it into the bill occurred afterward, according to an aide to Rep. Tom Caltagirone, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.
The law's passage means Pennsylvania will now include registration for juvenile offenders convicted of the most serious sexual offenses, including rape. Also, no more than five sexually violent predators will be permitted to live in a single group home.