A bill introduced last June by Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi, which will help in preventing child sexual endangerment, was signed into law last week.
The bill will require the Department of Criminal Justice to publish and circulate documentation to youth agencies instructing them on how to retrieve background checks on employees.
It will ensure that organizations who 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 bill’s passage comes as a need for more thorough criminal background checks is becoming necessary with increased incidences of adults in leadership positions who have a history of sexually abusing children.
And in some cases, unbeknownst to their employer during the hiring, those adults had entered into plea bargains making the convictions difficult to uncover.
Hevesi originally drafted the legislation 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.
The incident compelled the assemblyman 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.”
The bill will outline available databases as well as provide instructions for their use and contact information for assistance in using the database.
The bill will also include information on the Department of Corrections and community supervision parolee and inmate lookup, as well as the subdirectory of sex offenders.
The bill requires the division to distribute at no cost, a copy of the brochure created by the section to all youth services organizations as well has make the publication available on their website.
The act will take effect 19 days after becoming law.