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Lawmakers aim to close ‘Penn State Loophole’

Legislation would mandate college staff to report child abuse

— Allegations of child abuse at Penn State have spurred some lawmakers to close what they called a loophole here in the Empire State.

Assemblymen James Tedisco, R-Glenville, and George Amedore, R-Rotterdam, along with Sens. Hugh Farley, R-Niskayuna, and George Maziarz, R-Newfane, officially introduced the College Coaches and Professionals Reporting Act to the state Legislature on Thursday, Nov. 18. The bill would mandate college staff to report any alleged child abuse to the proper authorities.

After being in circulation for a day, 11 fellow Assembly members from both major parties have signed on to sponsor the bill.

“It’s clear from the bi-partisan support … there is a real recognition that New York has an opportunity to be progressive and close the ‘Penn State Loophole’ to help protect children,” Tedisco said in a statement.

Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky allegedly sexually assaulted eight male children he met through a charity program he created to help troubled young boys, according to a Pennsylvania grand jury report. The report also alleged many members of the Penn State community failed to properly report or attempt to stop the abuse.

Longtime football coach Joe Paterno was fired by the university’s Board of Trustees in the wake of the scandal, as was Penn State President Graham Spanier. Though allegations of wrongdoing were reported to college officials, it is alleged they were not passed on to police. Sandusky faces 40 criminal charges.

Tedisco said the bill is a positive aspect to the “tragedy” unfolding at Penn State.

“Caring about kids is not a Republican or Democratic issue, it is everybody’s issue,” said Tedisco.

Tedisco said he wanted top priority placed on the bill when the Legislature reconvenes. Amedore echoed these remarks and stressed the importance of passing the bill.

“Although it is unfortunate that legislation is needed to require adults to fulfill their moral responsibility, it is vital that we decisively bring this … on to the Governor’s desk,” Amedore said in a statement.

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