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'Maxwell's Law:' proposed legislation aimed at preventing child abuse

A 12-year-old boy in Lebanon County who died after years of alleged abuse and neglect, causing a community to be outraged, is not being forgotten

LEBANON COUNTY, Pa. — A 12-year-old boy in Lebanon County who died after years of alleged abuse and neglect, causing a community to be outraged, is not being forgotten.

Police say Maxwell Schollenberger was starved, abused, and neglected when he was found dead in his Annville Township bedroom May 26th. 

RELATED: Rally held for 'justice' for 12-year-old allegedly starved, neglected, and abused

"And that's why I vowed that we're bringing this thing home," State Representative Frank Ryan said.

Rep. Ryan is one of many lawmakers and citizens who want to bring justice to Maxwell. Since his death the community has worked to be his voice by hosting rallies and vigils to remember him.

"When I see what this little boy went through and lived so close to school, where he would've heard children playing, the dad in me says 'this can never happen again,'" Rep. Ryan said.

Which is why he is drafting a bill known as "Maxwell's Law." It would focus on preventative measures to provide education for children, curative measures to improve funding by the state for children and youth services, and punitive measures to toughen penalties for these types of crimes.

"Punishing people more for doing this kind of horrific thing is one thing," Rep. Ryan said. "But the real solution to this is to prevent it. I was absolutely stunned at how easy it is for a child to go missing and no one is then looking for the child. And that, to me, is a major failure of our system."

Rep. Ryan said the bill is still in the process of being written and that it is being fast-tracked. He hopes to introduce it no later than April with the goal of the law being in place by Max's next birthday, December 8th.

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