Published: Friday, November 18, 2011, 10:37 AM
by Judy Randall
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- In an effort to strengthen reporting of child sex abuse, state Sen. Andrew Lanza has introduced legislation that would make it a Class E felony to witness the abuse and not report it to police.
Lanza said that in the wake of the Penn State scandal, "irrespective of whoever else is notified, a witness to child sex abuse should always report such a crime directly to law enforcement. ... Not doing so should be a serious crime."
Current state law requires public school teachers and officials, doctors, social workers, police officers and some other professionals to report suspected child abuse to a statewide central registry. But it does not require that the report be made to law enforcement. Nor does it list college coaches, athletic directors, professors and administrators as required to report the abuse.
Lanza (R-Staten Island) added that we "need to go further" and hold anyone who witnesses such abuse responsible for alerting authorities.