Mar 26, 2015 4:48 PM
The shocking death of Brielle Gage, the Nashua 3-year-old beaten to death last November, moved the state Senate on Thursday to act on sweeping reform in child abuse cases.
Brielle's mother, Katlyn Marin, has been charged with murder in her death.
The centerpiece of these changes requires police to investigate at a home if a judge finds a child is in imminent danger.
It also allows child protection workers to seek and obtain permission to enter the home where a child is endangered.
"Well, it protects the kids because it makes it a lot easier for us to intercede when there is probable cause that there is sexual abuse or sexual molestation, things of that sort,'' said State Sen. David Boutin, R-Hooksett, who authored the reform measure.
The chairman of the Senate committee that heard Boutin's bill said the rights of the accused are preserved.
"We should always be very concerned with due process and in this case the legislation is very clear," said Sen. Andy Sanborn, R-Bedford. "It does require you have to stand before a judge before someone can go knocking on the door, and we think that's an important part.''
The Senate unanimously approved the bill which Boutin said was the product of many key players.
"We had the help of the Senate legal counsel, the attorney general and other folks who helped out with the drafting so I think we have something now that takes us a step forward,'' Boutin said.
Other family members were shocked that Brielle, who had been in a foster home following abuse allegations, was returned to her home months before her death.
These changes compel a judge to rule the child is not in danger before he or she is returned to the home.
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