Sexual molestation charges against former Penn state football coach Jerry Sandusky has rocked Penn State University . From news reports , it appears a graduate assistant discovered former coach Sandusky molesting a young boy in a shower in 2002. Coach Paterno was notified and he passed the information along to the administration . Here is the problem , the administration did nothing with the information until it was recently revealed that a cover up might have taken place. Now these administrators have resigned and are now facing criminal charges in alleged perjury scheme.The fallout from these allegations will test the foundation of the Penn State football program and the reputation and legacy of Joe Paterno.

The question is how would this scandal play out under Tennessee law . Tennessee Code Annotated  37-1-605 sets forth a list of those that have a legal duty to disclose child sexual abuse ;

a) Any person including, but not limited to, any:

(1) Physician, osteopathic physician, medical examiner, chiropractor, nurse or hospital personnel engaged in the admission, examination, care or treatment of persons;

(2) Health or mental health professional other than one listed in subdivision (1);

(3) Practitioner who relies solely on spiritual means for healing;

(4) School teacher or other school official or personnel;

(5) Judge of any court of the state;

(6) Social worker, day care center worker, or other professional child care, foster care, residential or institutional worker;

(7) Law enforcement officer; or

(8) Neighbor, relative, friend or any other person who knows or has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been sexually abused;

shall report such knowledge or suspicion to the department in the manner prescribed in subsection (b).


Under Tennessee law , Coach Paterno would have had a duty to report the act since he was a school official or personal. I am not aware of what Pennsylvania’s ‘s laws are but the result may be different under Tennessee law as to any charges that could  have been filed against Coach Paterno.