Hevesi Fights Child Sexual Abuse with Passage of Background Check Bill

Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Queens) passed bill number A8296 which will require the Department of Criminal Justice to publish and circulate documentation to youth agencies which instructs them on how to retrieve full background checks on employees. This legislation is meant to ensure that organizations which employ adults to work directly with or in close proximity to children are sufficiently informed of all the resources available that can assist an employer in receiving a complete and detailed criminal background check on new hires. The need for more thorough criminal background checks has recently become necessary with increased incidences of adults in leadership positions who have a history of sexually abusing children, but unbeknownst to their employer during the hiring had entered into plea bargains making the convictions difficult to uncover.

Assemblyman Hevesi originally drafted this legislation in the summer of 2011 after a particularly disturbing case of sexual abuse occurred at the hands of a Coach of a Queens Little League Association with numerous young children on the team. At the time, the organization was unaware that this Coach had a criminal record of sexual abuse because the crime had occurred over 20 years earlier, and the Coach had entered a plea bargain to reduce his criminal charges. This incident compelled Assemblyman Hevesi to ensure that youth organizations across the state have a uniform and complete resource guide for obtaining thorough criminal background checks on their employees.

“There are numerous resources that currently exist which allow youth organization employers to obtain a thorough background check on their employees,” Hevesi said. “However, until now, there hasn’t been a comprehensive resource guide distributed to these organizations. This bill helps protect our children by ensuring that youth organizations have all criminal information available when they hire an employee.”