November 15, 2011

Proposed bill to add coaches, professors to list of mandated reporters for child sex abuse

11-15-2011 New York:

NEW YORK STATE (WKTV) - New York lawmakers are proposing a bill that would make it mandatory for coaches to report the sexual abuse of children - a proposal made in light of the recent sex abuse scandal that unfolded at Penn State that led to the firing of long time football Coach Joe Paterno.

Physicians, teachers and high school coaches are already mandated reporters for child sex abuse, but this proposed bill would add college coaches, athletic directors, professors and college administrators to the list.

Although colleges and universities students are not children, it is not uncommon for them to host sports camps and other programs for kids. Utica College, for example, hosts a youth football camp in the summer and encourages community service with coaches, players and youth in the area.

Head football Coach Blaise Faggiano says that when dealing with youth, communication between staff is key.

"Any time you're in any type of situation like that, it's all about your supervision and your coaching staff," says Faggiano.

As head coach for four seasons, Faggiano says he has always had certain policies in place in regard to youth.

"Simple things like, when they're going for a bathroom break, two of the coaches will walk them up, show them where the bathroom is, wait outside," says Faggiano.

This new proposed bill will make sure colleges are thinking of these procedures and report sexual abuse of children to authorities. Failure to report an incident could result in a misdemeanor charge and a year in jail if convicted.

Coach Faggiano says that what happened at Penn State is a tragedy, but thinks Utica College being a Division 3, smaller schools without a lot of outside distractions bigger schools often have, works to their advantage.

"Whether they're worried about this image or that image and what it could bring, kind of loses sight of what's important," says Faggiano. "And that's the safety of the children first.

Coach Faggiano says that coaches should always carry themselves as mentors and teachers, even if their classroom is the field.

"Many times tragedies will cause reactions like that and obviously we're in support of that," says Faggiano. "It's sad that we have to have a law to have folks just do things right." ..Source.. by LEXIE O'CONNOR

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