New York Mulls Law That Would Require Coaches to Report Child Abuse

The highly publicized <"">Penn State child sexual abuse scandal has given rise to more than just investigations. A proposal in New York will call for coaches to be mandated reporters of child sexual abuse. Mandated reporters are legally required to notify authorities of sexual abuse or face a misdemeanor criminal charge and jail time, if convicted.

The Associated Press (AP) said that assemblymen James Tedisco and George Amedore wrote the bill that would include college coaches, athletic directors, professors, and college administrators to those required to report child sex abuse. Currently, physicians, teachers, and high school coaches are mandated reporters.

Considered the nation’s most successful college football coach, Joe Paterno was fired following a unanimous Penn State trustee board vote last week. Now-former university president, Graham B. Spanier was also fired in the midst of an ongoing and growing sexual abuse scandal involving former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, once considered heir apparent to Paterno.

Described by prosecutors as a serial pedophile and charged with over 40 counts related to the victimization of eight boys over 15 years, Sandusky had free access to young boys through his Second Mile Foundation charity, created to help troubled boys, and his assistant coaching responsibilities. Although not charged with a crime, Paterno, and Penn State, could face legal difficulties.

Paterno received a graphic description of sexual abuse that Sandusky allegedly committed against a young boy in the shower in the Penn State football building from then-graduate assistant coach, Mike McQueary, who has, since, been placed on administration leave and has received death threats. Paterno reported the accusation to the school’s athletic director, but apparently did little else.

The Pennsylvania grand jury report stated that former Athletic Director, Tim Curley, testified that after being informed of the allegation, he met with Sandusky and told him he was banned from bringing youth on to the Penn State campus. In truth, even that slap on the wrist was ill respected. Sandusky left his position after the 1999 season, but was permitted use of school facilities, maintaining an office until 2007 and operating a summer football camp for boys on a Penn State satellite campus for six years.

Curley, athletic director, and Gary Schultz, senior vice president for finance and business at Penn, were arrested last week, charged with perjury and failing to report to authorities what they were aware of regarding allegations against Sandusky, a mandate under Pennsylvania state law. Both have resigned.

Sandusky was given free reign to the boys under his care because his employer either could not, or would not, stop his despicable activities; the 2002 allegation was never brought to the police. Pennsylvania state law enforcement officials said that while Paterno met his legal obligation by alerting his superiors, he failed, on a moral level, by not doing more. The same officials charged that inaction on the part of Penn State University allowed more children to become victims of abuse at the hands of Sandusky.

Meanwhile, Penn State’s presence at the 1999 Alamo Bowl in Texas has sparked the interest of San Antonio police Sergeant Chris Benavides, who said his department is “looking into the possibility that an offense may have happened” when Penn State’s team was there, said CBS/AP. That game was Sandusky’s last at Penn State and, according to a grand jury report, Sandusky took a boy he allegedly molested to the game, threatening to send him home when the boy fought against Sandusky’s advances, CBS/AP explained.

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