The Penn State sexual abuse scandal reminds us that state and federal laws may mandate that a teacher or coach, such as Coach Paterno and the assitant coaches and administrators at Penn State, has a duty to report suspected sexual abuse of children to the police. As discussed in a recent Chicago Tribune article:
Illinois law features a long list of people who must notify the Department of Children and Family Services if they suspect that a child has been abused or neglected, including doctors, coroners, social workers, police officers, foster parents and members of the clergy.
The law also specifies “school personnel” as mandated reporters, and DCFS spokesman Jimmie Whitelow said Thursday that the department interprets that to include employees of colleges and universities.
Institutions that deal with children, such as schools and churches, may be liable in civil suits if they fail to fulfill a duty to report sexual abuse of children. If you have encountered a situation where a school, church or other institution has failed to report abuse, or covered it up, contact us.