NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The sentencing of former U.S. Olympic doctor Larry Nassar is still sparking plenty of conversations and concerns.
One of those being, how could we prevent something like this from happening again?
As CBS2’s Dick Brennan explained, a new law may soon help out and one local organization is already doing its part.
As executive director of the Yorkville Youth Athletic Association, Arlene Virga is a busy lady, but is never too occupied when it comes to protecting the group’s 6,000 kids.
“Our children are very safe. We do background checks on everyone from employees to volunteers,” she said.
She said over the last 50 years the organization has never had a sexual abuse or harassment case, but admits it sometimes could be a gamble when hiring someone.
“Nothing is perfect. There is a possibility of hiring someone that has a problem, but the important thing is, if that happens then you have to report it,” she said.
A report like that may soon be law. On Monday, Assemblyman Chuck Lavine drafted legislation that would make it mandatory for every athletic organization in the state of New York to report incidents of sex abuse and harassment.
“We have to consistently be vigilant and constantly fine-tune our laws,” he said.
Those reports would then go to the Central Register of Child Abuse, and local law enforcement and the state could then take appropriate action.
“I think for too long people were not willing to discuss the fact that people were being abused,” Lavine said
The new bill comes in the wake of the sentencing of Larry Nassar who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting more than 150 U.S. Olympic gymnasts.
“I think it should be mandatory, absolutely,” Mark Giordano said.
One mother said it’s about time. She wishes this was a law when her three adult daughters were younger.
“I am glad that it’s opening people’s eyes and making us see that this should have been law and it should have been one a while ago,” Iris Berwitt said.
It may be overdue, but Virga and other athletic group leaders are looking forward to it.
The bill should go to committee soon, and the assemblyman hopes the governor will sign it in the coming months.