UPDATE: Colorado Senate Bill 13-012 requires all private athletic clubs and their personnel to report suspicious or known child abuse or sexual contact of their underage participants. At the time, the bill was drafted in reaction to the Jerry Sandusky molestation conviction. SB13-012 was signed into law by Governor John Hickenlooper March 22, 2013.
SB13-012 SECTION 1. Legislative declaration.
(1) The general assembly hereby finds that:
(a) The reporting of child abuse is a matter of public concern, and it is in the best interests of the children of Colorado that we provide protective services when needed to prevent any further harm to a child suffering from child abuse or neglect;
19-3-304. Persons required to report child abuse or neglect.
(2) Persons required to report such abuse or neglect or circumstances or conditions include any:
(hh) Educator providing services through a federal special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children, as provided for in 42 U.S.C. sec. 1786;
(ii) DIRECTOR, COACH, ASSISTANT COACH, OR ATHLETIC PROGRAM PERSONNEL EMPLOYED BY A PRIVATE SPORTS ORGANIZATION OR PROGRAM. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS PARAGRAPH (ii), “EMPLOYED” MEANS THAT AN INDIVIDUAL IS COMPENSATED BEYOND REIMBURSEMENT FOR HIS OR HER EXPENSES RELATED TO THE PRIVATE SPORTS ORGANIZATION OR PROGRAM.
Protecting our children from predators is a moral obligation that is now the law for private athletic programs to report. What is not good is how this bill fails to protect the private organizations. This bill puts the privately owned sports and athletic organizations and business at an enormous financial and criminal risk.
This bill exposes every score keeper, referee, and part time coach associated with a private sports club to possible criminal charges for failure to report, false reporting or false allegations. It is expecting experts in the field to be experts in legalities of child welfare. The bill does not address anything other than to report. How? When? What?
Someone compelled to report an incident before may be very reluctant to get involved now because of the lifelong ramifications of an ugly or false accusation. An organization or private business cannot afford to not report every bruise or bump for fear of being charged with a crime because of failure to report.
If you find yourself involved in an investigation stemming from crimes against minors, please call me Philip M. Smith, Child Abuse Defense Attorney, 303-333-8900.