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Friday, November 11, 2011

Albany, NY - In the wake of the child sex-abuse scandal currently convulsing Penn State University, and has led to the firing of the school’s legendary football coach Joe Paterno, two New York state lawmakers on Friday announced plans to introduce legislation that would make it a crime for college staff to fail to report child abuse.
Former Penn State football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky has been charged with 40 counts of sexual abuse of young boys who were taking part in a charity program. Paterno, who holds the record for most wins by a college football coach, and the university’s president, Graham Spanier, were fired this week for allegedly covering up the scandal after an assistant coach in 2002 saw Sandusky raping a boy in a Penn State locker room and reported it to Paterno. Two other university officials were charged with perjury and failing to report child abuse.
New York state law currently requires public-school teachers and officials, doctors, social workers, police officers and some other professionals to report child abuse. The proposed bill would add college staff, including professors, coaches and administrators, to that list, making failure to report a class A misdemeanor.
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“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,” Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, a Republican from the Albany area, said in a statement.
If you witness child abuse and do not feel compelled to alert authorities you might fail a moral test, but as the law is written in New York State you may not be held accountable legally,” Assemblyman George Amedore, a Republican also from the Capital region, said in a release.
The lawmakers said they will introduce the bill immediately, though the legislature is not scheduled to reconvene until January.
A call to United University Professors, a union that represents 34,000 professors in the state university system, was not immediately returned.

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