Assemblyman John Ceretto, R-I-Lewiston, has signed legislation that seeks to address a dangerous loophole in state law and help protect children from abuse. The legislation, the College Coaches and Professionals Reporting Act, adds college coaches, athletic directors, professors, and administrators to the list of mandated reporters of child abuse. Failure to report abuse would result in a Class A misdemeanor conviction with up to one year in jail.
Ceretto noted that, currently, these professionals, many of whom interact with children through youth programs hosted at their colleges and universities, are not defined as mandated reporters under New York state law.
"In the wake of the child sexual abuse scandal at Penn State University, I believe it is imperative to pass tougher legislation in order to protect our children and make certain that these heinous crimes are reported to prevent other crimes and punish predators," Ceretto said. "It is unconscionable for someone who witnesses a crime against a child not to report it. When my legislation becomes law, more children will be protected and adults will be held accountable for their neglect."
New York state law defines many professions as mandated reporters of child abuse, including: K-12 school officials such as teachers, guidance counselors, coaches, principals and administrators; day-camp directors; social service workers; doctors; dentists; nurses; chiropractors; EMTs; social workers; psychologists; therapists; police officers; and district attorneys.