Lara Seeks to Strip Nonprofits of Tax Exempt Status if Convicted of Covering-Up Sexual Abuse

January 31, 2012

AB1564 will deter nonprofits from failing to report incidents of child sexual abuse and strengthens current mandated reporting laws

Sacramento - In an effort to protect children from sexual abuse, today Assembly Member Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) introduced AB 1564, a bill that would strip nonprofits of their tax exempt status if a mandated reporter within the organization is convicted of failing to report an incident of child sexual abuse.

"AB 1564 deters nonprofit organizations of all types – universities, faith based, or educational – from sweeping abuse under the rug and sends a clear message that failing to report incidents of child sexual abuse is unacceptable," said Lara. "As a victim, I know how difficult it is for a child to overcome the trauma of abuse. We must implement solid legislative solutions to deter nonprofits from concealing incidents of abuse and strengthen current mandated reporting laws to prevent future cases of abuse. Today it was reported that a third grade teacher at Miramonte Elementary School in my district was arrested on 23 counts of lewd acts with children – my heart goes out to the victims and their families."

The legislation seeks to deter nonprofits from covering-up crimes like that of Jerry Sandusky, the former assistant football coach for Penn State University who was recently charged with sexually abusing 10 young boys over a 15 year period and Timor Dykes of the Boy Scouts of America who admitted to abusing boys while he was a Scout leader. These reports of sexual abuse cover-ups illustrate the need for this timely legislation.

In addition to stripping nonprofits of their tax exempt status, AB 1564 strengthens current mandated reporting laws by adding volunteers to the list of mandated reporters and by requiring that employers provide employees and volunteers with training in child abuse reporting. Currently, volunteers are excluded from the list of mandated reporters and employers are only “strongly encouraged” to provide training.

AB 1564 will be heard in policy committee within the next few months.