Bellone signs protection bill inspired by alleged Splish Splash groping

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone signed into law Monday a bill that will require amusement and water parks to report any criminal conduct, including sexual offenses, to the proper law enforcement agency.

News 12 Staff

Jan 14, 2019, 8:26 PM

Updated 1,955 days ago

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Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone signed into law Monday a bill that will require amusement and water parks to report any criminal conduct, including sexual offenses, to the proper law enforcement agency.
The law follows an incident last summer in which four girls reported being groped by adult men at Splish Splash Water Park in Calverton. When park employees were made aware of the incident, the men were escorted out of the park without their names being taken or police being notified.
Splish Splash general manager Mike Bengston says the new law sets clear guidelines for the park.
"We've never been judge and jury, but if a guest says, 'I don't want the police called,' we've supported that," he says. "But in this case, with this new legislation, that would change."
Any amusement park or water park that violates the new law could have to make a civil payment of up to $5,000 on a first offense. Subsequent violations would result in a penalty of $10,000.
Bellone says making sure people feel comfortable and safe at amusement parks is a priority for the county.
"We have an obligation to protect our kids and make sure there are protocols in place," Bellone says.
Suffolk Legislator Susan Berland was instrumental in moving forward the law. She says the county is now considering other ways to protect children at venues not covered by the legislation.
The attorney representing the families of three of the four girls involved in the alleged groping incident tells News 12 that they intend to file a lawsuit against Splish Splash in the near future.


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