CBS News New York
November 23, 2011
When it comes to child sex abuse, should silence be a crime?
The law in many states requires everyone — no matter who you are — to report it, but not in New York.
CBS 2's Lou Young reports has the exclusive story of two community leaders who want to change that right now.
Twenty years after he was molested, Pinney Taub still deals with the pain. The incident happened right in Borough Park under the nose of the community that was supposed to protect him.
"The abuser was my teacher," said Taub, adding the abuse lasted eight months and though others knew nobody spoke up.
Some are now demanding a law to require a call to police if a child is being abused. It would make silence itself a crime.
David Mandel is the director of Ohel, an interstate social service agency that caters to the Orthodox Jewish community.
"All individuals in all states should be required to report it, period. This is a good time to change the law," Mandel said.
Right now only 18 states require regular citizens to report child abuse to police when they are aware of it. New York and Connecticut are not among them.
Neither is Pennsylvania, where Joe Paterno met the letter of the law by telling only his employer about the alleged actions of assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind said the responsibility to report abuse needs to be expanded to everyone.
"The time of running away and hiding and shoving it under a rug is over and finished. All of us have a responsibility for each other," Hikind said.
When asked if silence is as bad as the abusive act itself, Taub said, "I would say worse. Yep. I will say worse."
Federal legislation has been introduced by Sen. Robert Casey of Pennsylvania that would make it a crime for any adult to knowingly look the other way.
Right now in most states only certain professions, like health, law enforcement, and social work are required to report child abuse.