New legislation to help protect children from the kind of horrific abuse alleged to have occurred at Penn State was officially introduced today in the Legislature by Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C,I Schenectady-Saratoga), Assemblyman George Amedore (R,C,I-Rotterdam), and majority Senate members Senator Hugh Farley (R,C,I-Niskayuna), and Senator George Maziarz (R,C-Newfane).
In one day of circulation, 11 other Assembly members from both parties have signed on as sponsors of the bill, the College Coaches and Professionals Reporting Act, which adds college coaches, athletic directors, professors, graduate assistants, administrators and college presidents to the list of mandated reporters of child abuse.
Other bipartisan sponsors include Assembly members Alec Brook-Krasny, Bill Magee, Matthew Titone, Will Barclay (R-Pulaski), Nancy Calhoun (R-Blooming Grove), John Ceretto (R-Lewiston), Cliff Crouch (R-Guilford), Gary Finch (R-Springport), Mark Johns (R-Webster), Dan Losquadro (R-Shoreham) and Phil Palmesano (R-Corning),
College professionals, many of whom interact with children through youth programs hosted by colleges and universities, are currently not defined as mandated reporters under New York State law. Failure to report abuse results in a Class A misdemeanor conviction with up to one year in jail.
“It’s clear from the bipartisan support shown in the past few days from my colleagues in both houses of the legislature that there is a real recognition that New York has an opportunity to be progressive and close the Penn State Loophole to help protect children from abuse by making college coaches, athletic directors, administrators and other college professionals mandated reporters of child abuse,” said Tedisco.
“Since announcing The College Coaches and Professionals Reporting Act, support has been tremendous for this important initiative. Although it is unfortunate that legislation is needed to require adults to fulfill their moral responsibility, it is vital that we decisively bring this from the floor of the Senate and Assembly and on to the Governor's desk,” said Amedore.
“The disturbing incidents at Penn State have revealed a potential gap in New York State's laws protecting children. This legislation is necessary to help ensure that people do the right thing and take the necessary steps to protect children from predators,” said Farley.
“Sadly, the situation at Penn State has put sexual abuse back in the national spotlight. Every loophole needs to be closed to protect children and bring the perpetrators of abuse to justice. By designating college coaches and faculty members as mandatory reporters of abuse in New York, we are creating another line of defense against attempts to ignore or cover up these horrible crimes. I look forward to sponsoring companion legislation in the Senate,” said Maziarz.
Click here for a PDF copy of the bill and the bill memo.