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Authors

Christine Adams

Abstract

Sexual abuse is the fastest growing form of reported child abuse. Most child sexual abuse takes the form of incest committed by fathers and stepfathers. Courts and legislatures have attempted to address this serious societal problem by extending criminal liability beyond the perpetrators to include those family members who fail to intervene to stop the abuse. This Note will explore how the law treats and should treat mothers who allow their children to be sexually abused by the mothers' partners. Specifically, this Note considers two questions. First, should the state impose criminal liability upon mothers who do not intervene to stop the sexual abuse of their children because the mothers are in a state of denial about the abuse? And second, if the state should not impose criminal liability, how should it deal with these "mothers in denial"?

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