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137Type of Legislation: General Bill GBIntroducing Body: SenateIntroduced Date: 20010111Primary Sponsor: GieseAll Sponsors: GieseDrafted Document Number: l:\council\bills\dka\4014mm01.docResiding Body: SenateCurrent Committee: Judiciary Committee 11 SJSubject: School district employee committing criminal offense against child, reports of; investigation procedure; MinorsHistory Body Date Action Description Com Leg Involved ______ ________ ______________________________________ _______ ____________ Senate 20010111 Introduced, read first time, 11 SJ referred to Committee Versions of This Bill
TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 20-7-615 SO AS TO PROVIDE FOR REPORTS OF CRIMINAL OFFENSES ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN COMMITTED AGAINST A CHILD BY A SCHOOL DISTRICT EMPLOYEE ON SCHOOL DISTRICT PROPERTY OR DURING AN OFFICIAL SCHOOL ACTIVITY, TO PROVIDE FOR INVESTIGATION, PROSECUTION, AND LIMITATION ON EMPLOYMENT, AND TO PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR VIOLATION.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. The 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 20-7-615. (A) Local law enforcement authorities shall investigate promptly reports of criminal offenses alleged to have been committed against a child by an employee of a private school, public school, or school district if the alleged offense occurred on private school, public school, or school district property or during an official school activity.
(B) When an investigation of a report substantiates that an offense occurred, the case must be referred promptly to the circuit solicitor for prosecution.
(C) An employee of a private school, public school, or school district or a member of a school board who has reasonable cause to believe that a criminal offense against a child as stated in subsection (A) has occurred shall report the belief to the local law enforcement authority. For the purposes of this section, 'reasonable cause to believe' means a reasonable belief, based upon physical, medical, visible, or otherwise determinable evidence including, but not limited to, scarring, bruising, other physical trauma, or a verbal indication from the child, that a criminal offense has been committed against the child as contained in subsection (A).
(D) A private school, public school, or school district employee or member of a school board who knowingly fails to report or a person who interferes with the making of a report is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than six months, or both. A person who reports in good faith is immune from civil or criminal liability which may result from the report. Good faith is a rebuttable presumption.
(E)(1) A person convicted of a criminal offense in subsection (A) may not be employed by a private school, public school, or school district unless the governing body of the private school or the local school board determines that the person is rehabilitated and does not pose a threat to the school-aged population of the district.
(2) If a person holding a South Carolina teaching credential issued by the State Board of Education is convicted of a criminal offense, resigns, or is terminated from employment for conduct in subsection (A), the chief administrator of the school or school district shall report the conviction, resignation, or termination to the South Carolina State Superintendent of Education.
(F) For purposes of this section, criminal offenses include offenses recognized in the statutory or common law of this State. Nothing in Chapter 7 of Title 20 limits an investigation by law enforcement authorities pursuant to this section or limits a circuit solicitor in prosecuting related cases."
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor and applies to an offense occurring after that date.
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