Benninghoff Backs Bill Protecting Students from Sexual Predator School Employees
4/7/2014
HARRISBURG – Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) on Wednesday voted for a bill approved by the House and aimed at keeping sexual predators away from Pennsylvania students.

“There are few things in this world as sickening as a person in a position of authority who takes advantage of a student,” Benninghoff said. “This bill would protect our students who can be vulnerable to the influence of a sexually abusive school employee.”

The bill would close a loophole in existing law that allows school employees who are sexual predators to move from school district to school district without being detected.

Under current law, a school district employee can resign quietly after being accused of sexual misconduct with a student. If the school employee resigns, administrators in that school district are not required to provide information about the alleged offenses to a prospective employer.

When the problem school employee applies for a job with a new school district, those administrators may hire him or her without ever learning about the prior accusations.

“We don’t want sexual predators moving from one school district to another, leaving a path of seriously harmed students in their past,” Benninghoff said.

House Bill 2063 would require public and private schools and their independent contractors to conduct a thorough employment history before offering a job to any applicant for a position involving direct contact with children.

The bill would protect school employees and independent contractors that disclose the background information from frivolous lawsuits that may be filed by the sexual predator. Schools and contractors would be provided with immunity from criminal and civil liability for passing along the information.

The legislation also would prohibit schools and contractors from hiding allegations of abuse by preventing them from entering into confidentiality agreements with former or current staff who were accused of abusing students.

“The days of hiding sexual predators or passing them along and thinking they are someone else’s problem need to come to an end,” Benninghoff said. “By identifying and stopping sexual predators sooner, we can protect more students and prevent more tragedies.”

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration. 

Representative Kerry Benninghoff
171st District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Dan Massing
717.772.9845
dmassing@pahousegop.com  
KerryBenninghoff.com / Facebook.com/RepBenninghoff
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