SACRAMENTO (KTLA) - California lawmakers are rushing to introduce legislation aimed at preventing scandals similar to that involving former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky, as his preliminary hearing on sex abuse charges begins this week.
CA Assemblyman Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento) is set to announce a bill that would require all athletic organizations to provide their employees with training on how to identify and report child abuse.
Joe Paterno, did too little to respond to allegations that Sandusky molested boys for several years. Sandusky's arrest last month on suspicion of child sex abuse ended the careers of Paterno and Penn State President Graham Spanier.
Last month, Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) and state Sen. Juan Vargas (D-San Diego) announced separate bills that would require employees of universities and colleges, including athletic directors, coaches, and graduate assistants, to report suspected cases of child abuse to law enforcement. Those jobs are not currently on California's list of mandated reporters.
Federal lawmakers, including Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), have introduced similar legislation in Washington.
Vargas said his bill would toughen the penalties for those who fail to report abuse.
"Telling their superiors was fine, but they should have gone to the police," Vargas said in a statement. "What they did was wrong and it wasn't a crime, but it should be. These men protected their football team rather than the innocent boys."