Gov. Quinn signs law protecting athletes

By on July 5, 2012

CHICAGO—Governor Pat Quinn on June 27 signed a law that will help further protect children and young people from sex abuse and child abuse. House Bill 3887 requires coaches and university employees to report cases of abuse. The legislation was introduced to prevent a sex abuse scandal in Illinois similar to what occurred at Penn State University.

“Young people place their trust in coaches and university officials, and it is their responsibility to report any suspected abuse,” Governor Quinn said. “This is an important law that will help us continue to protect our children and youth.”

House Bill 3887, sponsored by Rep. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) and Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon), required athletic personnel, university employees and early intervention providers to report suspected child sex abuse or other abuse. The legislation passed both chambers of the General Assembly unanimously.

The legislation was introduced following national media reports of widespread child sex abuse cases involving former assistant Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky. Federal investigators are looking into claims the university covered up the scandal. On Friday, a jury convicted Sandusky on 45 child sex abuse counts. The new law is aimed at preventing a similar instance in Illinois.

“It was clear following the events that unfolded at Penn State that we needed to tighten up our reporting laws in Illinois to make sure nothing like that could happen here,” Rep. Kay said. “The last thing anyone would have wanted to see would be for abuses to go unreported because of a loophole in the law. I’m extremely glad we were able to get this legislation passed and close those loopholes in such a timely manner.”

“Our colleges and universities should be places of safety for our young people, and this law ensures that these new ‘mandatory reporters’ do the right thing when they suspect abuse,” said Sen. McCarter.

The law goes into effect immediately.