State laws nationwide prohibit sex offenders from working as school teachers and coaches, but most laws don't cover karate instructors, youth coaches, carnival workers, clowns, magicians, or dance instructors in the private sector when public funds aren't involved.
Sen. Charles Schumer of New York wants to change those circumstances, and is proposing a national measure that would apply to sex offenders in these and other jobs even when their employers don't get public funds. The measure would cover people who are paid or volunteer to do the work.
"Convicted sex offenders should not be able to hold any job or volunteer position where they have interaction with children in New York or across the country, period," Schumer said. "The fact that these sex offenders are able to coach our children's teams, operate rides at fairs, and teach them dance and music is beyond scary and we must take immediate action to stop it. My hope is that my new legislation closes this huge loophole so no children are put into harm's way."
Additional jobs that could come under the measure would be tutors, youth mentors, workers at recreation centers, video arcades, and children's museums.
The measure would require states to pass laws prohibiting employment of sex offenders in those private sector jobs or lose out on specific federal funding.
"Dangerous loopholes exist in local and state laws which allow convicted sex offenders to work in positions of trust where they can have unlimited access to potential child victims," said Laura A. Ahearn, executive director of Parents for Megan's Law and the Crime Victims Center.