Establishes the class E felony of failure to report child abuse for the failure to report to law enforcement officials the commission of any crime against a child under the age of 16.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the penal law, in relation to establishing the class E felony of failure to report child abuse
PURPOSE: To establish the Class E felony of failure to report child abuse.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section one amends the penal law by adding a new section 260.40; failure to report child abuse.
JUSTIFICATION: This bill allows prosecutors to bring felony charges against persons who witness child sexual abuse and do not quickly report it to law enforcement. This measure would create a class E Felony charge for failure to report child abuse to law enforcement.
In wake of the Penn State scandal, it is timely to review New York's laws to ensure they remain strong and clear with regards to reporting the sexual abuse of a child. It has become clear that it is not enough to simply report to your superior if you witness or suspect the abuse of a child. For example, in the Penn State situation, when someone sees a child being sexually abused there is no legitimate reason not to report it to law enforcement. It is inconceivable and dangerous for someone to turn a blind eye or fail to immediately report to the authorities when they see a child being abused. Not doing so should be a serious crime in New York State.
Currently, New York state law requires public-school teachers and officials, doctors, social workers, police officers and some other professionals to report suspected child abuse to the statewide central register of child abuse and maltreatment or local child protective services, however, they are not required to report directly to law enforcement. This bill makes it a Class E felony by holding a person accountable if they witness an act of child abuse.
When someone witnesses the abuse of a child, a particularly heinous act, they should report it to law enforcement authorities immediately. Mandatory reporting is not a standard that should be reserved for professionals who work closely with children or for supervisors. Everyone in society has a responsibility to say something when they see something as serious as child abuse.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New Bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6030 IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 4, 2012 ___________Introduced by Sen. LANZA -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to establishing the class E felony of failure to report child abuse THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The penal law is amended by adding a new section 260.40 to read as follows: S 260.40 FAILURE TO REPORT CHILD ABUSE. A PERSON IS GUILTY OF FAILURE TO REPORT CHILD ABUSE WHEN, BEING EIGH- TEEN YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER, HE OR SHE FAILS TO REPORT TO A POLICE OFFI- CER OR LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY, AS SOON AS HE OR SHE IS PHYSICALLY ABLE, THE COMMISSION OF ANY CRIME DEFINED IN THIS CHAPTER AGAINST A CHILD UNDER THE AGE OF SIXTEEN YEARS, AND SUCH PERSON WITNESSES THE COMMISSION OF SUCH CRIME AND HAS REASON TO KNOW THAT HE OR SHE IS WITNESSING A CRIME. FAILURE TO REPORT CHILD ABUSE IS A CLASS E FELONY. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD13694-01-2