Cuomo signs law requiring coaches to report abuse

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ALBANY _ New York now requires coaches to report child abuse in a new law prompted by the abuse scandal involving Penn State’s football program.

The bill passed by the State Legislature this year and signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo adds school coaches to a long list of “mandated reporters” including teachers, physicians, social workers and school guidance counselors.

The law requires those workers to make a report to police and other authorities when they have “reasonable cause to suspect that a child ... is an abused or maltreated child.”

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The officials are protected from lawsuits if an investigations shows there was no abuse.

            "When a coach witnesses child abuse the crime should always be reported directly to law enforcement authorities,” said Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island), the bill’s co-sponsor.

            The other co-sponsor, Assemb. Amy Paulin (D-Scarsdale), said “coaches are in a unique position of trust with their players ... this will help protect children.”

            The law makes no mention of it, but the bill was one of many nationwide to follow the scandal at Penn State in which a former defensive coordinator was accused of sexually abusing at least eight young boys, although the university failed to act at the time.

            “With the proper training, and the clear mandate to report suspected instances of abuse, school coaches will play a crucial role in keeping our children safe and out of harm’s way,” Cuomo said.

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