Bill Targeting Nonprofits That's Inspired by Jerry Sandusky-Penn State Scandal Gets Legs
"The deliberate cover-up of the monstrous crimes against children at Penn State demands an immediate review of California's sexual abuse reporting requirements," explains Assemblyman Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), who is introducing the bill, in a statement.
|Photos by Ted Soqui/LA Weekly|
Lara, who is openly gay, says that as a boy he was sexually abused by an older relative--and that it changed the future politician's life forever.
"As a victim, I know firsthand the devastating effects of abuse," he says in his release. "The safety and recovery of the victim must be our focus and ultimate priority."
It was the recent reporting on Penn State and the Boy Scouts of America failing to report sexual abuse and even helping to conceal it that prompted Lara to take a fresh look at current California law, which requires mandated reporters pass along child abuse allegations to law enforcement or appropriate county agencies.
|Martha M. Escutia|
His legislation comes on the heels of a call for a similar law last month by Martha M. Escutia, an East Los Angeles Democrat who served in both houses of the California Legislature from 1992 through 2006 before co-founding the private law practice The Senators (Ret.) Firm in Newport Beach, where she specializes in representing abuse victims and their families.
- Martha M. Escutia, Retired Legislator-Turned-Newport Beach Lawyer, Targets Tax-Exempt Status of Abuser Nonprofits in Wake of Penn State Scandal
Escutia wants state legislatures and the U.S. Congress to pass laws revoking the tax-exempt status for any organization determined by a criminal or civil court of law to have fostered the abuse of children, concealed the abuse of children, or failed to report knowledge of child abuse or neglect to law enforcement authorities. She includes offending churches and religious institutions in her desired legislation.