Niagara Gazette

Local News

July 28, 2013

Bill would allow for FBI background checks

Niagara Gazette — Noting a hole in federal law that’s supposed to protect youth organizations from sex offenders, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said Wednesday he is introducing legislation that would give those groups access to FBI background checks.

The senator’s bill, the Child Protection Improvement and Electronic Life and Safety Security Systems Act, would give community youth groups and agencies access to a national FBI database of sex offenders. Schumer said most youth groups have access only to state background checks and that registered sex offenders are increasingly moving to other states to avoid the system.

It isn’t a problem yet, but Schumer said children’s safety should be paramount regardless.

“We all agonize over it,” Schumer said Wednesday in a conference call. “One (child harmed) is one too many. We want to eliminate the possibility.”

Over 15 million adults volunteer each year to help with youth programs. Volunteers, along with regular employees, can make up a large number of adults working at a particular program, increasing the chance an offender would slip through the current background check, Schumer said. He said some of the offenders seek employment or volunteer through summer camps and other youth-service organizations.

Schumer said 15,493 sex offenders live in the state and 746 related crimes were reported last year. In Western New York there are 2,303 registered sex offenders, 441 of which live in Niagara County and a reported 96 related crimes took place in the region last year. Twelve of those crimes were reported in Niagara County.

Access to the federal criminal database would expand the background check to include criminal activity out of state.

“There should be absolutely no difficulty for these organizations to access the federal background check data that will keep children safe from dangerous predators, particularly when studies have shown that about 6 percent of individuals serving in these positions have committed serious crimes,” Schumer said. “Parents deserve the peace of mind knowing that their children are in good hands when they drop them off at camp or afterschool programs.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
House Ads
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page
Poll

Do you think cigarette sales to non-Native American customers should be taxed on reservations?

Yes. Items should be taxed like they are everywhere else.
No, the indian reservations are sovereign land and they are selling them on their land.
Not up to me. Native Americans decide the rules on their land.
Don't care. Smoking isn't good for you.
     View Results