The 2012 hazing scandals at Maine West and Hoffman Estates high schools have led to the creation of a new criminal offense in Illinois for failure to report hazing.
Gov. Pat Quinn Friday signed legislation from state Rep. Marty Moylan of Des Plaines and state Sen. Dan Kotowski of Park Ridge creating the new charge. It takes effect immediately.
The crime would apply only to school employees, but that could include teachers, coaches and social workers.
"I think this puts people on notice," Kotowski said. "They just can't stand idly by."
Moylan's original plan would have allowed law enforcement to charge officials who didn't report hazing with hazing themselves. But negotiations led to the final product Quinn OK'd Friday.
The charge could carry a year in prison and a $5,000 fine. If an official doesn't report hazing that results in serious injury, the penalties could rise to $25,000 and three years in prison.
Two Maine West soccer coaches were fired after two 14-year-old soccer players said they were sexually assaulted as part of a hazing ritual last year.
At Hoffman Estates High School, it was basketball players who allegedly hazed teammates off campus last year.
"Because of the publicity, most of the (local) districts are taking precautionary measures against hazing," Moylan said.
The law already had at least some ways of addressing people who don't report hazing. Former Maine West soccer coach Michael Divincenzo has been charged with hazing, battery and failure to report abuse.
Divincenzo, of Elk Grove Village, has denied any wrongdoing.