New Jersey's 26th Legislative District

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Partnership of 18 Groups Calls for Passage of Webber/Pennacchio Child-Protection Legislation

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Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey, New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and sixteen other advocate organizations joined together today to support and urge prompt passage of child-protection legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Jay Webber and Senator Joe Pennacchio.

Legislation sponsored by Sen. Pennacchio and Asm. Webber to protect students against chronic child abusers was endorsed by 18 advocate organizations. (©iStock)

The partnership of 18 groups calls on all legislators to support the legislation. New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault urges Senate President Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Coughlin, and the chairwomen of the Senate and Assembly education committees to move the legislation swiftly to passage.

The Webber and Pennacchio legislation would remedy the problem of insidious silence that has permitted the migration of child predators between and among schools and our children.

The new policy would tighten-up reporting and disclosure requirements between and among education employers so that chronic child abusers will not escape detection or get recycled through the system to prey again on other children at different schools.

“I thank this broad partnership of groups for joining and supporting this effort to protect all of our children and keep serial child abusers out of our schools,” said Webber (R-Morris), who introduced the original version of the legislation last year.

“The days of looking the other way and allowing predators access to our children are over,” said Pennacchio (R-Morris).

The extent of the problem was revealed in a recent investigation by NJ Advance Media. Saying he was “disgusted” by the revelations of that report, Gov. Phil Murphy expressed interest in supporting the legislation.

Similarly, Sen. Theresa Ruiz, chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, has committed to hold a hearing early this session on the legislation.

The Star-Ledger editorial board also has encouraged swift passage of the legislation. Gannett conducted its own investigation of the national problem of serial sexual abusers in schools.

In addition to NJ Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Prevent Child Abuse – NJ, the other involved organizations include Advocates for Children of New Jersey, CARES Institute Rowan Medicine, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Camden, Inc., County Prosecutors Association of New Jersey, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of New Jersey, Inc., Foster & Adoptive Family Services, Inc.,  National Council of Jewish Women, Essex County Section, New Jersey Child Assault Prevention, New Jersey Children’s Alliance, New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence, New Jersey PTA, NJ Taskforce on Child Abuse & Neglect-Protection Committee, NJ YMCA State Alliance, Parents Anonymous of New Jersey Inc., The Dorothy B. Hersh Regional Diagnostic and Treatment Center, and Wynona’s House Child Advocacy Center, Inc.

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