Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Proposed California Bill Would Expand Sexual Abuse Reporting Requirements

Spurred by the failure of the system at Penn State to catch and prevent sexual abuse of minors, lawmakers in California are proposing bills aimed at preventing such a situation in this state. State Sen. Juan Vargas has announced his intention to propose a bill that would require coaches at all public and private colleges in the state to report sexual abuse that comes to their notice.

These pieces of legislation are linked to what has been widely seen as the failure of coaches and officials at Penn State University to properly report sexual abuse by former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky to the police. At least one assistant coach is believed to have seen a ten-year-old boy being sodomized by Jerry Sandusky in 2002. He did not go to the police, but informed football coach Joe Paterno. The coach went on to inform the university's athletic director and vice president. Needless to say, neither of those two officials did anything further.

Sandusky is charged with sexual abuse of at least 8 boys, but San Diego criminal defense lawyers expect the number of victims to increase as more boys are encouraged to come forward with their stories.

California currently requires a number of officials, including teachers, employees of public schools, doctors, and law enforcement officers to report sexual abuse of children. That list of personnel would also include coaches and public and private colleges under the bill.

Those who fail to report sexual abuse, leading to a situation where the child suffers serious physical harm, or dies, could be sentenced to up to one year in prison. They could also be fined up to $25,000 in penalties. Anyone who fails to report sexual abuse of a child may be fined up to $5,000, and could be sentenced to between six months and one year in jail. Supervisors and administrators who try to prevent someone from reporting these crimes could be fined as much as $10,000, and be sentenced to between six months and one year in jail.

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