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Rhode Island Child Molestation Laws

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Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect

Rhode Island Gen. Laws § 40-11-6 provides that any physician or registered nurse practitioner is required to report suspected child abuse or neglect (including sexual abuse) to authorities. In addition, any other person who has reasonable cause to know or suspect that a child has been abused or neglected must report.

Reports must be made within 24 hours. Failure to report may result in a misdemeanor or other penalties.

Sexual Abuse and Exploitation

Rhode Island Gen. Laws § 40-11-2 provides that the term ‘abused and/or neglected child’ includes a child whose physical or mental health or welfare is harmed or threatened with harm when his or her parent or other person responsible for his or her welfare:

  • Commits or allows to be committed against the child an act of sexual abuse
  • Sexually exploits the child in that the person allows, permits, or encourages the child to engage in prostitution
  • Sexually exploits the child in that the person allows, permits, encourages, or engages in the obscene or pornographic photographing, filming, or depiction of the child in a setting that, taken as a whole, suggests to the average person that the child is about to engage in or has engaged in any sexual act, or that depicts any such child under age 18 performing sodomy, oral copulation, sexual intercourse, masturbation, or bestiality
  • Commits or allows to be committed any sexual offense against the child
  • Commits or allows to be committed against any child an act involving sexual penetration or sexual contact if the child is under age 15; or if the child is age 15 or older, and (1) force or coercion is used by the perpetrator or (2) the perpetrator knows or has reason to know that the victim is a severely impaired person or physically helpless