State Senator George Maziarz (R-C, Newfane) announced that he is introducing legislation to close a loophole in the state’s child abuse reporting requirements.
WBFO'S Eileen Buckley says Maziarz points to the Penn State scandal -- saying it has put sexual abuse back in the national spotlight and highlights loopholes in the reporting laws.
The timing of Maziarz's proposed legislation is even more significant in New York State. Brand new allegations of a similar child abuse has now surfaced at Syracuse University. Long time assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine has been placed on administrative leave at SU after allegations of sexual molestation have surfaced. Two former ball boys tell ESPN that Fine molested them for years.
Senator Maziarz tells WBFO News ironically New York State's law does not require coaches and other university or college personnel to serve as mandatory reporters of such abuse. Marziarz wants to end the loophole.
"So this legislation would require college coaches, athletic directors, professors, graduate assistants, administrators and college presidents to report even the suspicion of child abuse. Let the authorities sort out whether or not it was actually child abuse, but if they have reasonable cause to suspect, they would be required to report it and there would be some pretty hefty penalties if they did not do that," said Maziarz.
Maziarz is seeking bi-partisan support and it's already mounting.
"I've had calls today from my colleagues across the state on both sides of the isle that are jumping on board in support of this legislation. I suspect we are going to pass this if we go back in December or if we go back to regular session in January," said Maziarz.
Senator Maziarz has also reached out to SUNY and says he is almost certain SUNY would back his bill.
But Maziarz says with or without SUNY support he is confident the legislation will sail through the legislature.
"I think it is shocking that we even need legislation like this. One would hope and think if you saw a child being abused you would simply pick up the phone and call 9-11," said Senator Maziarz.