Bloomberg News

New York May Require College Coaches to Report Child Sex Abuse

November 18, 2011

Nov. 17 (Bloomberg) -- A bill that would require college coaches to report child sex abuse was introduced in the New York Legislature today, prompted by the Pennsylvania State University scandal.

The measure also would mandate that athletic directors, professors and administrators report molestation to authorities. New York already requires primary- and secondary-school teachers and counselors to report abuse.

Last week, Penn State fired football coach Joe Paterno, 84, and President Graham B. Spanier, 63, after former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was charged with sexually assaulting boys in the school’s athletic complex. Paterno and Spanier were criticized for failing to contact police after being told of a case involving the 67-year-old Sandusky, who was charged Nov. 5 with sexually assaulting eight boys from 1994 to 2009.

Other states are also moving to make college officials report abuse. The Pennsylvania Legislature is considering a bill to close what lawmakers call a loophole that has the effect of exempting university officials from the responsibility of telling police.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal yesterday ordered public higher-education officials to report abuse and neglect within 24 hours.

The New York legislation was sponsored by Republicans in the Senate, where the party has a majority, and a mix of Republicans and Democrats in the Assembly, where Democrats are in control, according to a statement e-mailed today by Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, an upstate New York Republican who announced plans for the bill last week.

“Given that many colleges and universities offer athletic and academic programs to children, we need to make sure that a situation like what occurred at Penn State does not happen in New York,” Tedisco said in a Nov. 11 statement. “The message of this bill is clear: If you’re a college coach or college professional and you see or receive a report of child abuse, it is your responsibility and obligation to report it to law enforcement immediately.”

With assistance from Erik Matuszewski in New York.

--Editors: Stephen Merelman, Mark Schoifet

To contact the reporter on this story: Freeman Klopott in Albany, New York, at fklopott@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net.


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