HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – A new Pennsylvania law lets authorities factor in the age of the victims and the degree of harm when filing charges in child endangerment cases.
Gov. Tom Wolf signed the bill Thursday to increase penalties when victims are 5 years old or younger.
It also directs judges to consider ordering counseling for those convicted of child endangerment. The law takes effect in 60 days.
It was prompted by the 2010 death of 10-month-old Heath Ryder, who suffered brain and neck injuries after being shaken and thrown. Charges were filed against a 9-year-old girl and the adult baby sitter was sentenced to six to 23 months in jail after pleading no contest to child endangerment.
Authorities say the sitter waited more than an hour to call for help after realizing Heath wasn’t breathing properly.
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