Kathleen G. Kane - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Protecting Pennsylvanians

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The Attorney General's Medical/Legal Advisory Board on Child Abuse

The Attorney General's Medical/Legal Advisory Board on Child Abuse is an advisory group of approximately 50 members formed under the Office of Attorney General.  Created in 1988 as a resource for Pennsylvania's prosecutors and investigators, these members serve without compensation.  Members of the Board, all of whom have distinguished themselves by their experience, their expertise and their commitment to combating child abuse, are appointed to serve by the Attorney General.

The Board, which meets up to six times a year, is comprised primarily of pediatric physicians, forensic pathologists, coroners, criminal prosecutors, criminal investigators and social service personnel.  The Board's membership also includes medical experts specializing in such areas as pediatric neuroradiology, forensic dentistry, neuropathology and psychiatry.

Since its inception, the Board has reviewed well over 100 cases of child homicide, physical and sexual abuse and neglect.  The Board's expertise is particularly useful in cases where the medical evidence is complex or unclear.  Some examples of topics addressed by the Board include Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Shaken Baby Syndrome.

When a case is brought before the Board, the members, in advance of the meeting, are provided with copies of all pertinent investigative reports and medical records. At the Board meeting, a presentation which summarizes these reports is made by the party or parties seeking the Board's input. The presenters then have the opportunity to ask the Board members specific case-related questions. Board members address these questions and are able to provide valuable assistance and advice.

The work of the members of the Board has greatly assisted investigators and prosecutors over the years. The structure of the Medical/Legal Advisory Board on Child Abuse has allowed these investigators and prosecutors to present their cases in a confidential setting where they can be reviewed by some of the Commonwealth's most preeminent experts in child abuse.  Only through a statewide law enforcement agency such as the Office of Attorney General could this be effectively accomplished.