Abused as a child, Downey’s assemblyman going after not-for-profits that hide sex offenders

Assemblyman Ricardo Lara, D-South Gate, is pushing legislation that would strip universities, churches, preschools and any not-for-profit of its tax-exempt status if the institution was caught hiding sex offenders.

Lara, who represents Downey and several other cities in the southeast region, in a statement said he was abused as a child, and that the scandal over sexual abuse accusations against a Penn State coach got him thinking about what he could do stop cover ups.

Organizations from the Roman Catholic Church, to day-care centers to the Boy Scouts of America have been accused of hiding reports of sexual abuse.

“Nonprofit organizations at all levels – universities, faith-based, or after-school programs – should be held accountable for their actions,” Lara wrote.  “As a victim, I know firsthand the devastating effects of abuse. The safety and recovery of the victim must be our focus and ultimate priority.”

Lara will likely introduce the legislation when the Assembly is back in session in January. Meanwhile,  the state’s legislative counsel will look into the feasibility of the law, said Julia Juarez, Lara’s spokeswoman.

Lara was out of town this week and was not immediately able to discuss the proposal further, Juarez said.



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