Headlines about pedophiles, perverts and sex abuse could cost city contractors more than they can afford. The city requires a select group of programs get sex abuse insurance.
On any given day, kids from the streets walk through the door at Altas Cops for Kids boxing program. A boxing gym in a remodeled parking garage at Flatbush Gardens in Brooklyn.
"Teaching them how to box is the smallest part of it," said Pat Russo, the program's director.
Pat Pusso runs the program, which also has a gym in Staten Island. Cops for Kids is a free gym run by former NYPD officers. At the gym, saggy pants are not allowed and good grades are mandatory.
"When I look into their eyes it says I want to get it off the street," said Russo.
He said everyday from 3:30pm until 7pm, he says close to 75 teenagers pack the two rings inside the gym and practice.
"You know, instead of wearing a Latin Kings jacket, they are wearing Flatbush Gardens Cops for Kids jackets," said Russo.
Russo says they teach skills that are priceless. But the city claims its lessons are risky. Risky enough that the program is required they acquire molestation insurance.
"Sexual abuse liability addresses sex abuse against children of all ages," said Harvey Rosen, an insurance broker that works with non-profits.
But it's a mandate that Russo said could put this program in jeopardy. The non-profit operates on a $50,000 budget and the $15,000 it would cost to get a sex abuse policy would put the program under water.
Rosen said that those sorts of policies are often costly because very few companies want to write them.
The NYPD said it's been a requirement since 2005. "Sporting events, recreation and educational services; Community Operations', human services and transportation services are all required to have it," said a spokesperson for the New York Housing Authority.