Proponents said the bill is intended to keep people from maliciously filing false reports in the midst of a divorce, custody fight or other domestic conflict.
“Accusing somebody of something as serious as child abuse tarnishes their reputation in a way that is unique,” said Rep. Wally Hicks, R-Grants Pass.
Legislators opposed to the measure expressed concern that it would have a chilling effect, causing people who suspect abuse but aren’t certain to hesitate before acting.That opposition is answered obviously enough by the requirement that the reporter know the claim to be false. That requirement simultaneously gives the bill’s legitimate targets – false accusers in custody cases – a fairly easy way to avoid conviction. After all, it should be an easy matter for a mother to say “I see signs of child abuse” as opposed to “He’s abusing the child.”