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State Lawmaker Demands Mandatory Reporting Of Sex Abuse Claims

Springfield, Penn State

An Illinois lawmaker wants to tighten the rules on mandatory reporting of sexual abuse, following the Penn State scandal. (Credit: CBS/Rick Stewart/Allsport)

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — Coaches accused of sexually abusing children could not – as has been alleged at Penn State University – hide behind their bosses under a bill introduced in the Illinois House.

As WBBM Newsrasdio’s Dave Dahl reports, in reaction to the child rape scandal at Penn State, State Rep. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) says a coach could not say, “I did my job” just by passing the word up the line.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports

His bill adds to the list of “mandated reporters” – those who, by dint of their jobs, are required to call police when they witness or suspect abuse.

“What we’re really doing is saying without a doubt, we expect colleges and universities to report child abuse or neglect,” Kay said. “Secondly, we’re specifically making reference to athletic coaches or staff. That also has not been a part of the existing legislation.”

While lawmakers often try to get some publicity out of a national issue, Kay says his proposed legislation has drawn Democratic co-sponsors too.

In the Penn State case, graduate assistant Mike McQueary said he witnessed assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky having sexual contact with a young boy in the Penn State locker room in 2002.

McQueary contacted then-head football coach Joe Paterno, who “apparently missed the call here, failed to pick up the ball, run with it, and do what was necessary and proper,” Kay said.

The Penn State scandal has cost Paterno and university President Graham Spanier their jobs.