Schumer: Close loopholes in sex offender law

(AP) - 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 publicfunds aren't involved.

Sen. Charles Schumer of New York wants to change thosecircumstances, and is proposing a national measure that would applyto sex offenders in these and other jobs even when their employersdon't get public funds. The measure would cover people who are paidor volunteer to do the work.

"Convicted sex offenders should not be able to hold any job orvolunteer position where they have interaction with children in NewYork or across the country, period," Schumer said. "The fact thatthese sex offenders are able to coach our children's teams, operaterides at fairs, and teach them dance and music is beyond scary andwe must take immediate action to stop it. My hope is that my newlegislation closes this huge loophole so no children are put intoharm's way."

Additional jobs that could come under the measure would betutors, youth mentors, workers at recreation centers, videoarcades, and children's museums.

The measure would require states to pass laws prohibitingemployment of sex offenders in those private sector jobs or loseout on specific federal funding.

"Dangerous loopholes exist in local and state laws which allowconvicted sex offenders to work in positions of trust where theycan have unlimited access to potential child victims," said LauraA. Ahearn, executive director of Parents for Megan's Law and theCrime Victims Center.

Officials with the American Civil Liberties Union and the NewYork Civil Liberties Union did not immediately return telephonecalls seeking comment Sunday on the measure.

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