RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Now that January is here, we're less than two weeks away from the General Assembly coming back into session here in Richmond.
Already there's one bill that is catching many people's attention. The alleged child sexual abuse by former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky is inspiring a bill here in Virginia.
Two bills proposed would legally require athletic coaches to report any suspected child abuse to Social Services.
The outrage over child abuse accusations at Penn State were aimed not only at Sandusky. They were also aimed at other coaches and university leaders that are believed to have known about the abuse, but failed to report it.
Northern Virginia Republican Bob Marshall wants to legally require coaches and athletic directors to report suspected and known abuse.
"There was no requirement to do anything," Marshall said. "Common sense tells you to do it but I guess that isn't sufficient to report this to the authorities."
These related bills would apply to both public schools and universities as well as private organizations.
Marshall says many children respect the authority of coaches. He says they shouldn't be solely responsible for telling someone they're being abused.
"Kids can get confused easily along these lines," he said. "We need adults to have an obligation if they're in these circumstances to report this abuse to the proper authorities."
Right now Virginia law does not require someone to come forward if they suspect abuse. NBC12 Legal Analyst Steve Benjamin says there are some risks though with legislation like this.
"The biggest concern is the extent to which this could cause massive false accusations by people, quite frankly, are not trained in detecting actual instances of child abuse," Benjamin said.
Marshall says his bills would not prevent abuse altogether, but he hopes it could prevent further abuse and spare other children.
The General Assembly will be back in session on the 11th.
Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.
Richmond police are investigating two separate homicides in opposite ends of the city. The most recent, happening in the city's southside. Officers responded to the 1900 block of Hopkins Road, just before 2 a.m. When they arrived, they found a man down in the parking lot of an apartment complex, suffering from a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Just hours before -- a man was shot in the city's...More >>
Police say no laws were violated by five teens who made a video of a drowning man and posted it to social media.More >>
As the world, the United States, and South Carolina prepared for arguably the coolest celestial event in decades, our old friends at NASA want you to know that pairs of unsafe solar eclipse glasses are being distributed.More >>
Authorities confirm that 2 people have been arrested in Shreveport after a raid at a Shreveport massage parlor in connection with a multi-state human trafficking investigation.More >>
Police responded to a call of an unresponsive three-month-old child on June 9 in an apartment complex in Fern Creek. Officials interviewed multiple people to find out how exactly Preston Amato died.More >>
A Shreveport man is in custody, accused of robbing of a Bossier City fast food restaurant and kidnapping a co-worker.More >>