NY considers adding coaches to list of mandated child sex abuse reporters

Extending mandated abuse reporting to the college level---coaches, athletic directors, professors and administrators would be added to the list---is being proposed by New York legislators, but some area schools already have such policies in place.

At Onondaga Community College, Athletic Director Rob Edson met with his coaching staff just last month, before the Penn State scandal broke,"We meet monthly with the coaches and talk about a variety of issues and this was one of our topics---reporting sexual abuse, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and made it a priority that all our staff understood what the expectations were, what the procedures were and what their responsibilities were, related to that."

Even though his procedures are in place, Edson welcomes the proposed legislation, too. "To put a law to it is simply saying that there's a legal side to it. But I think it's about doing the right thing, and for any of us that are involved in higher education, anybody involved in secondary education or even dealing all the way down to minors, I think this is part of what your responsibility should be, anyways."

The bill by Assemblymen James Tedisco and George Amedore would add college coaches, athletic directors, professors, and college administrators to the list of mandated reporters of child sex abuse.

Failure to report an incident could result in a misdemeanor charge and a year in jail if convicted.

At Penn State, football coach Joe Paterno was fired for failing to pursue a report of sexual abuse on campus.

In Albany, Tedisco and Amedore would likely need some Democrats in the chamber's majority to back the bill.

Physicians, teachers and high school coaches, among others, are already mandated reporters in New York State.