This bill has been amended

Bill S824-2013

Enacts provisions relating to the reporting of child abuse

Enacts provisions relating to the reporting of child abuse; delineates what persons are required to report cases of suspected child abuse to law enforcement agencies; any person required to report or any clergy required to review records who willfully fails to do so shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor for the first offense, a class E felony for the second offense and a class D felony for the third offense or any subsequent offense; provides immunity for certain persons who in good faith made such reports to the wrong recipient.

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  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
  • Jan 9, 2013: REFERRED TO CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S824

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the social services law, in relation to the reporting of child abuse

PURPOSE: To include "members of clergy" to the list of persons and officials required to report or cause a report to be made when they have reasonable cause to suspect a child coming before them in their professional or official capacity is an abused or maltreated child, or when they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is an abused or maltreated child where the parent, guardian, custodian or other person legally responsible for such child comes before them in their professional or official capacity and states from personal knowledge. fact, conditions or circumstances which, if correct, would render the child an abused or maltreated child.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section One amends Paragraph (a) of subdivision 1 of section 413 of the social services law to add "member of the clergy" to the list of persons and officials required to report or cause a report to be made when they have reasonable cause to suspect a child coming before them in their professional or official capacity is an abused or maltreated child, or when they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is an abused or maltreated child ~here the parent, guardian, custodian or other person legally responsible for such child comes before them in their professional or official capacity and states from personal knowledge fact, conditions or circumstances which, if correct, would render the child an abused or maltreated child.

Section Two amends Article 6 of the Social Services Law by adding a new title 6-B - requires any physician, registered physician assistant, surgeon, medical examiner, coroner, dentist, dental hygienist, osteopath, optometrist, chiropractor, podiatrist, resident intern, psychologist, registered nurse, emergency medical technician, hospital personnel engaged in admission, examination, care or treatment of persons, member of clergy, a Christian Science practitioner, school official, social services worker, day care center worker, provider of group or family day care, employee or volunteer in a residential facility or any other child care or foster care worker, mental health professional, substance abuse counselor, alcoholism counselor, peace officer, police officer, district attorney or assistant district attorney, investigator employed in the office of a district attorney or any other law enforcement official must report to appropriate law enforcement officials when they have reasonable cause to suspect in their professional or official capacity that a child is an abused child.

"Abused Child" is defined a child under the age of eighteen years upon whom a person eighteen of age or more who is not the parent of other person legally responsible for such child's care:

o Intentionally or recklessly inflicts physical, serious injury or death or

o Intentionally or recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of such physical injury, serious physical injury or death, or o Commits or attempts to commit against a child the crime of disseminating indecent materials to minors o Engagers in conduct prohibited under article one hundred thirty or two hundred sixty-three of the penal law.

"Law Enforcement" is defined as a municipal police department, sheriff's department, the division of the state police or any officer thereof or a district attorney or assistant district attorney. It shall not include any child protective service or any service for the society for the prevention of cruelty to children.

"Members of Clergy" shall have the same definition as "clergyman" as set forth in the religious corporations law and shall include and person responsible for supervising a member of the clergy of a religious institution or responsible for the administration of a religious institution.

"Religious Institution" shall mean a religious corporation created to enable its members to meet for divine worship or other religious observances or a congregation, society, or other assemblage of persons who are accustomed to statedly meet for divine worship or other religious observances, without having been incorporated for that purpose, as provided in section two of the religious corporations law.

Unless the person confessing or confiding waives the privilege, a member of the clergy, or other minister of any religion or duly accredited Christian Science practitioner shall not be required to make a report if confession was made to him or her in their professional character as spiritual advisor.

However, if the clergy member has reasonable belief of abuse allegations outside the scope of the confessional, they are required to report the abuse to the proper law enforcement officials.

Nothing contained therein will exempt a clergy member from other requirements of law to prevent perpetrator from committing other acts of abuse.

Penalties for failure to report is a class A misdemeanor for the first offense, a class E felony for the second offense and a Class D felony for the third offense. Further any person required to report and fails to do so will be civilly liable for damages proximately cause by such failure to report.

A person who in good faith makes a report of allegations as required by this title including a report to the wrong recipient shall have immunity from civil liability.

Within three months of the effective date of this section, all members of the clergy shall:

1) Review all institutional records within their control and any other information they have obtained regarding clergy abuse of children within 50 years prior to the effective date of this section.

2) Review to see if an perpetrators are still in active service and report the abuse, regardless of time it was made to the District Attorney.

This does not apply to confessions.

Penalties for failure to report is a class A misdemeanor for the first offense, a class E felony for the second offense and a Class D felony for the third offense.

EXISTING LAW: New bill.

JUSTIFICATION: Recent event have proven that there is a need for members of clergy to report suspected and documented child abuse to authorities. There are numerous examples of childhood abuse, going on for decades, which was not reported. It is common sense to mandate clergy to report abuse.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2011-12: S.1308A - Died in Children & Families Similar Bills: 2003-04: S.2818 Died in Senate Children & Families 2004-05: S.3967 Died in Senate Children & Families 2006: S.3967 Died in Senate Social Services, Children & Families Committee 2007: S.1804 Died in Senate Social Services, Children & Families Committee 2008: S.1804 Died in Senate Social Services, Children & Families Committee 2009: S.1793 Died in Senate Codes Committee 2010: S.1793 Died in Senate Codes Committee

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Minimal.

LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Minimal.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the sixtieth day after it shall have become a law.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 824 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 9, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sen. PARKER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Children and Families AN ACT to amend the social services law, in relation to the reporting of child abuse THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Paragraph (a) of subdivision 1 of section 413 of the social services law, as amended by chapter 91 of the laws of 2011, is amended to read as follows: (a) The following persons and officials are required to report or cause a report to be made in accordance with this title when they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child coming before them in their professional or official capacity is an abused or maltreated child, or when they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is an abused or maltreated child where the parent, guardian, custodian or other person legally responsible for such child comes before them in their profes- sional or official capacity and states from personal knowledge facts, conditions or circumstances which, if correct, would render the child an abused or maltreated child: any physician; registered physician assist- ant; surgeon; medical examiner; coroner; dentist; dental hygienist; osteopath; optometrist; chiropractor; podiatrist; resident; intern; psychologist; registered nurse; social worker; emergency medical techni- cian; licensed creative arts therapist; licensed marriage and family therapist; licensed mental health counselor; licensed psychoanalyst; hospital personnel engaged in the admission, examination, care or treat- ment of persons; A MEMBER OF THE CLERGY; a Christian Science practition- er; school official, which includes but is not limited to school teach- er, school guidance counselor, school psychologist, school social worker, school nurse, school administrator or other school personnel required to hold a teaching or administrative license or certificate;
social services worker; director of a children's overnight camp, summer day camp or traveling summer day camp, as such camps are defined in section thirteen hundred ninety-two of the public health law; day care center worker; school-age child care worker; provider of family or group family day care; employee or volunteer in a residential care facility defined in subdivision four of section four hundred twelve-a of this title or any other child care or foster care worker; mental health professional; substance abuse counselor; alcoholism counselor; all persons credentialed by the office of alcoholism and substance abuse services; peace officer; police officer; district attorney or assistant district attorney; investigator employed in the office of a district attorney; or other law enforcement official. S 2. Article 6 of the social services law is amended by adding a new title 6-B to read as follows: TITLE 6-B REPORTS OF CHILD ABUSE TO LAW ENFORCEMENT SECTION 429-A. PERSONS AND OFFICIALS REQUIRED TO REPORT CASES OF SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE TO APPROPRIATE LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY. 429-B. PENALTIES FOR FAILURE TO REPORT. 429-C. IMMUNITY FROM LIABILITY. 429-D. REVIEW OF EXISTING RECORDS FOR ALLEGATIONS THAT A CHILD IS AN ABUSED CHILD; DISTRICT ATTORNEY; PENALTY. S 429-A. PERSONS AND OFFICIALS REQUIRED TO REPORT CASES OF SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE TO APPROPRIATE LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY. 1. (A) THE FOLLOWING PERSONS AND OFFICIALS ARE REQUIRED TO REPORT OR CAUSE AN INDICATED REPORT AS DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION SEVEN OF SECTION FOUR HUNDRED TWELVE OF THIS ARTICLE TO BE MADE TO AN APPROPRIATE LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY WHEN THEY HAVE REASONABLE CAUSE TO SUSPECT IN THEIR PROFESSIONAL OR OFFICIAL CAPACITY THAT A CHILD IS AN ABUSED CHILD: ANY PHYSICIAN; REGISTERED PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT; SURGEON; MEDICAL EXAMINER; CORONER; DENTIST; DENTAL HYGIENIST; OSTEOPATH; OPTOMETRIST; CHIROPRACTOR; PODIATRIST; RESIDENT; INTERN; PSYCHOLOGIST; REGISTERED NURSE; EMERGENCY MEDICAL TECHNICIAN; HOSPITAL PERSONNEL ENGAGED IN THE ADMISSION, EXAMINATION, CARE OR TREAT- MENT OF PERSONS; MEMBER OF THE CLERGY; A CHRISTIAN SCIENCE PRACTITIONER; SCHOOL OFFICIAL; SOCIAL SERVICES WORKER; DAY CARE CENTER WORKER; PROVID- ER OF FAMILY OR GROUP FAMILY DAY CARE; EMPLOYEE OR VOLUNTEER IN A RESI- DENTIAL CARE FACILITY OR ANY OTHER CHILD CARE OR FOSTER CARE WORKER; MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL; SUBSTANCE ABUSE COUNSELOR; ALCOHOLISM COUN- SELOR; PEACE OFFICER; POLICE OFFICER; DISTRICT ATTORNEY OR ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY; INVESTIGATOR EMPLOYED IN THE OFFICE OF A DISTRICT ATTORNEY; OR OTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL. (B) FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION THE TERM "ABUSED CHILD" SHALL MEAN A CHILD UNDER THE AGE OF EIGHTEEN YEARS UPON WHOM A PERSON EIGHTEEN YEARS OF AGE OR MORE WHO IS DEFINED IN PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION AND WHO IS NOT THE PARENT OR OTHER PERSON LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR SUCH CHILD'S CARE: (I) INTENTIONALLY OR RECKLESSLY INFLICTS PHYSICAL INJURY, SERIOUS PHYSICAL INJURY OR DEATH, OR (II) INTENTIONALLY OR RECKLESSLY ENGAGES IN CONDUCT WHICH CREATES A SUBSTANTIAL RISK OF SUCH PHYSICAL INJURY, SERIOUS PHYSICAL INJURY OR DEATH, OR (III) COMMITS OR ATTEMPTS TO COMMIT AGAINST A CHILD THE CRIME OF DISSEMINATING INDECENT MATERIALS TO MINORS PURSUANT TO ARTICLE TWO HUNDRED THIRTY-FIVE OF THE PENAL LAW, OR
(IV) ENGAGES IN ANY CONDUCT PROHIBITED BY ARTICLE ONE HUNDRED THIRTY OR TWO HUNDRED SIXTY-THREE OF THE PENAL LAW. (C) FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION THE TERM "LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHOR- ITIES" SHALL MEAN A MUNICIPAL POLICE DEPARTMENT, SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, THE DIVISION OF STATE POLICE OR ANY OFFICER THEREOF OR A DISTRICT ATTOR- NEY OR ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW, LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES SHALL NOT INCLUDE ANY CHILD PROTEC- TIVE SERVICE OR ANY SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO CHILDREN AS SUCH TERMS ARE DEFINED IN SECTION FOUR HUNDRED TWENTY-THREE OF THIS ARTICLE. (D) FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION THE TERM "MEMBER OF THE CLERGY" SHALL HAVE THE SAME DEFINITION AS THE TERM "CLERGYMAN" AS SET FORTH IN SECTION TWO OF THE RELIGIOUS CORPORATIONS LAW AND SHALL ALSO INCLUDE ANY PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR SUPERVISING A MEMBER OF THE CLERGY OF A RELIGIOUS INSTITUTION OR RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ADMINISTRATION OF A RELIGIOUS INSTI- TUTION. (E) FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION THE TERM "RELIGIOUS INSTITUTION" SHALL MEAN A RELIGIOUS CORPORATION CREATED TO ENABLE ITS MEMBERS TO MEET FOR DIVINE WORSHIP OR OTHER RELIGIOUS OBSERVANCES OR A CONGREGATION, SOCIETY, OR OTHER ASSEMBLAGE OF PERSONS WHO ARE ACCUSTOMED TO STATEDLY MEET FOR DIVINE WORSHIP OR OTHER RELIGIOUS OBSERVANCES, WITHOUT HAVING BEEN INCORPORATED FOR THAT PURPOSE, AS PROVIDED IN SECTION TWO OF THE RELIGIOUS CORPORATIONS LAW. 2. (A) UNLESS THE PERSON CONFESSING OR CONFIDING WAIVES THE PRIVILEGE, A MEMBER OF THE CLERGY, OR OTHER MINISTER OF ANY RELIGION OR DULY ACCREDITED CHRISTIAN SCIENCE PRACTITIONER, SHALL NOT BE REQUIRED TO MAKE A REPORT AS REQUIRED BY PARAGRAPH (A) OF SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION IF THE CONFESSION OR CONFIDENCE WAS MADE TO HIM OR HER IN HIS OR HER PROFESSIONAL CHARACTER AS SPIRITUAL ADVISOR. (B) WHEN A MEMBER OF THE CLERGY HAS REASONABLE CAUSE TO SUSPECT THAT A CHILD IS AN ABUSED CHILD BASED UPON ANY INFORMATION RECEIVED OTHER THAN THROUGH A CONFESSION OR CONFIDENCE MADE PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION, THEN SUCH MEMBER OF THE CLERGY SHALL PROMPTLY MAKE A REPORT AS REQUIRED BY PARAGRAPH (A) OF SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT HE OR SHE MAY HAVE ALSO RECEIVED A REPORT OF ABUSE THROUGH A CONFESSION OR CONFIDENCE MADE PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION. (C) THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL NOT BE DEEMED TO EXEMPT A MEMBER OF THE CLERGY FROM ANY OTHER REQUIREMENTS OF LAW TO PREVENT THE PERPETRATOR FROM COMMITTING ADDITIONAL ACTS OF ABUSE. 3. NOTHING IN THIS TITLE SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO REQUIRE THE REPORT OF INFORMATION BY A PERSON REQUIRED TO REPORT WHEN SUCH INFORMATION IS OTHERWISE PRIVILEGED FROM DISCLOSURE BY LAW. S 429-B. PENALTIES FOR FAILURE TO REPORT. 1. ANY PERSON REQUIRED BY THIS TITLE TO REPORT A CASE OF SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE WHO WILLFULLY FAILS TO DO SO SHALL BE GUILTY OF A CLASS A MISDEMEANOR FOR THE FIRST OFFENSE, A CLASS E FELONY FOR THE SECOND OFFENSE AND A CLASS D FELONY FOR THE THIRD OFFENSE OR ANY SUBSEQUENT OFFENSE. 2. ANY PERSON REQUIRED BY THIS TITLE TO REPORT A CASE OF SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE WHO KNOWINGLY AND WILLFULLY FAILS TO DO SO SHALL BE CIVILLY LIABLE FOR THE DAMAGES PROXIMATELY CAUSED BY SUCH FAILURE. S 429-C. IMMUNITY FROM LIABILITY. 1. ANY PERSON WHO IN GOOD FAITH MAKES A REPORT OF ALLEGATIONS OF CHILD ABUSE AS REQUIRED BY THIS TITLE, INCLUDING THOSE WHO IN GOOD FAITH MAKE A REPORT TO THE WRONG RECIPIENT, SHALL HAVE IMMUNITY FROM CRIMINAL LIABILITY WHICH MIGHT OTHERWISE RESULT BY REASON OF SUCH ACTIONS.
2. ANY PERSON WHO REASONABLY AND IN GOOD FAITH MAKES A REPORT OF ALLE- GATIONS OF CHILD ABUSE AS REQUIRED BY THIS TITLE, SHALL HAVE IMMUNITY FROM CIVIL LIABILITY WHICH MIGHT OTHERWISE RESULT BY REASON OF SUCH ACTIONS. S 429-D. REVIEW OF EXISTING RECORDS FOR ALLEGATIONS THAT A CHILD IS AN ABUSED CHILD; DISTRICT ATTORNEY; PENALTY. 1. WITHIN THREE MONTHS OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION, ALL MEMBERS OF THE CLERGY SHALL: (A) REVIEW ALL INSTITUTIONAL RECORDS WITHIN THEIR CONTROL AND ANY OTHER INFORMATION THEY HAVE OBTAINED REGARDING ALLEGATIONS THAT A CHILD IS AN ABUSED CHILD BY A MEMBER OF THE CLERGY WITHIN FIFTY YEARS PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION; (B) REVIEW WHETHER THEY ARE AWARE OF ANY OTHER ALLEGATIONS THAT A CHILD IS AN ABUSED CHILD ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN ABUSED BY A MEMBER OF THE CLERGY WHO REMAINS ACTIVELY IN THE SERVICE OF A RELIGIOUS INSTITUTION, REGARDLESS OF THE DATE ON WHICH SUCH ALLEGATION WAS MADE; AND WHERE SUCH INFORMATION OR RECORDS RAISE REASONABLE CAUSE TO SUSPECT THAT A CHILD IS AN ABUSED CHILD, REPORT SUCH ALLEGATION TO THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY. THIS SECTION SHALL NOT APPLY TO INFORMATION OBTAINED THROUGH CONFIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS WITH CLERGY AND PRIVILEGED UNDER LAW. 2. ANY INDIVIDUAL, AS DEFINED IN PARAGRAPH (A) OF SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION FOUR HUNDRED TWENTY-NINE-A OF THIS TITLE, REQUIRED BY THIS SECTION TO REVIEW EXISTING RECORDS AND INFORMATION AND REPORT ALLEGA- TIONS CONTAINED THEREIN WHO WILLFULLY FAILS TO DO SO SHALL BE GUILTY OF A CLASS A MISDEMEANOR FOR THE FIRST OFFENSE, A CLASS E FELONY FOR THE SECOND OFFENSE AND A CLASS D FELONY FOR THE THIRD OFFENSE OR ANY SUBSE- QUENT OFFENSE. S 3. This act shall take effect on the sixtieth day after it shall have become a law.

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