Cuomo to Introduce Legislation to Crack Down on Sexual Abuse at High Schools and Universities

December 14, 2011 Updated Dec 14, 2011 at 5:22 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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Cuomo to Introduce Legislation to Crack Down on Sexual Abuse at High Schools and Universities

December 14, 2011 Updated Dec 14, 2011 at 5:22 PM EDT

Albany, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced Wednesday that he will introduce new legislation that will require additional persons, including coaches at high schools and colleges, to immediately report to law enforcement possible acts of child sexual abuse on their campuses.

Under current law, there are no requirements for any college employees to report acts of sex abuse to law enforcement. At high schools, many educational and health care professionals are subject to mandatory reporting requirements, but coaches are not. The Governor's proposal will address these gaps in order to better protect children who are present on high school and college campuses.

"Parents need to be sure that their children are safe in programs and activities that are organized by and at colleges," Cuomo said. "This legislation will ensure that those who harm our children are reported as quickly as possible to law enforcement."

Cuomo's announcement of the new legislation comes after the recently publicized reports of alleged sexual abuse in the athletic programs at Syracuse University and Penn State.

The bill continues Governor Cuomo's extensive efforts to protect children across New York State from sexual abuse. In August, the Governor signed a law to better ensure individuals convicted of sexual offenses are disqualified from becoming school bus drivers. As Attorney General, Cuomo authored the successful Electronic Securing and Targeting of Online Predators Act law that requires convicted sex offenders to register their e-mail addresses and other online identifiers with the state Division of Criminal Justice Services' New York State Sex Offender Registry. The e-STOP law is credited with forcing the removal of thousands of accounts associated with sex offenders from major social networking web sites.

In October, the Division of Criminal Justice Services launched a new feature that allows Facebook users to access information about medium and high-risk sex offenders living in their neighborhoods, near their workplaces and schools with just a few clicks and without leaving the popular networking site.