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New rules prompted by Sandusky case become law

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SPRINGFIELD – Legislation inspired by the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case at Penn State University became law in Illinois today.

By Jayette Bolinski

Gov. Pat Quinn signed House Bill 3887, which requires coaches and university employees to report to authorities suspicions of sex abuse and other forms of child abuse. The law is effective immediately.

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

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Dwight Kay, R-Glen Carbon, and Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, requires coaches, university employees and others to report suspected abuse. It passed unanimously in both chambers of the General Assembly this spring before landing on the governor’s desk.

Sandusky, a popular, long-time football coach at Pennsylvania State University, was convicted June 22 on 45 counts of sexually abusing boys. The abuse, which occurred over at least a 15-year period, allegedly was known but ignored or covered up by numerous people in Sandusky’s circle, including other coaches, university staffers and family members.

Kay said it was clear to lawmakers that Illinois’ reporting laws needed to be tightened once the Penn State scandal came to light.

“The last thing anyone would have wanted to see would be for abuses to go unreported because of loopholes in the law,” he said.

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