Rice Bill To Prohibit Sex Offenders From Working With Children And The Disabled Clears Senate Health Panel

Senator Ronald Rice on the Auto Insurance Bill Signing

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator Ronald L. Rice, which would ban people who have been convicted of an offense against a child from working with children and the disabled was unanimously approved today by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

“When it comes to our children and the disabled population, we must ensure that those who work with them have their safety and well-being in mind,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex, who is a member of the Senate Health panel. “People with a history of violence – sexual or otherwise, have no business working with these groups, who are probably least able to protect themselves. With this legislation, we would be working to help protect this very special and fragile segment of the population.”

Senator Rice’s bill, S-52, would amend current law requiring criminal background checks for employees at facilities catering to children, the disabled and the mentally ill. Under current law, the background checks are required, but individuals who work with adult members of the disabled population are not banned from employment.

This legislation would provide that if a background check reveals a conviction of an offense against a child, the employee would be banned from working at any schools, daycare centers or other facilities that serve children, and mental health and developmental disability centers.

Under the current law, any adult found caring for a child who commits a crime of sexual abuse or neglect is guilty of a second degree crime, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison and a $150,000 fine.

This measure now heads to the full Senate for approval. #