Most of us have memorable childhood experiences when we participated in organized sports during our youth. Some of us participated in Little League baseball, volleyball, pop Warner football, and youth soccer.
While looking back finally generates nostalgic feelings, some of these have blocked our memories from one be played sports because we were sexually molested or abused by coaches, adults, and mentors.
The soccer league sexual abuse attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC understand that abusing any child is unforgivable.
We fight aggressively on behalf of victims of sexual abuse to hold child predators legally and financially accountable, and a sexual assault lawyer can help your family too.
Contact us today at (888) 424-5757 for confidential legal advice and confidentially tell us what happened to your loved one.
Let us begin an investigation on your behalf filed against the alleged wrongdoer to begin your road to recovery. We will use the law to determine if the organization followed the established protocols and performing background checks that would identify previous inappropriate behaviors or sexual assault.
The Benefits of Youth Soccer Sports
Many parents encourage their children to join youth sports leagues as a part of their athletic and social development. Parents entrust the safety of their child with the athletic club, league coach, and assistant coach.
Soccer remains the leading global athletic sports played by men, women, boys, and girls. Many United States soccer teams compete at a state and national level, providing young players with the opportunity to travel and play in other communities, cities, regions, and states.
Many children are active in sport organizations, including the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), and private team leagues, and Junior/Senior high schools. Others participate at Junior Olympic levels.
Inappropriate Touching and Contact
Unfortunately, many children in sports activities fall prey to abuse by sexual predators at school or youth organizations with nearly continuous access to adolescents, tweens, and young children.
Many youth sports activities allow adults isolation time with young team players while on overnight trips, and team building events, or between training sessions.
Discovering that a staff member developed an intimate relationship and sexually assaulted their child could enrage the parents. These moms and dads might respond by notifying the police, taking legal action, and going after the organization that allowed the sexual predator to cause their child harm.
Much of the time, team coaches and assistant coaches spend with children is unsupervised. Sadly, many parents never see the “red flags” that something is wrong until they learn that a coach shared a hotel room with a minor player or had inappropriate physical contact with the child.
Many victims of sexual abuse never speak out about what happened with their abuser until decades later, if ever.
Law enforcement and the U.S. Center for Safe Sport were never contacted to file an abuse case involving the sexual abuse of a parent’s loved one who was harmed through sodomy, rape, oral sex, or other sexual activity.
Predators Groom Their Youth Sports Abuse Victims
Officials for youth sports organizations provide parents with the information they need about predators grooming young athletes and the warning signs of what occurs.
These organizations understand that a predator will often focus attention on a child, target their predatory practices, harm the child, and threaten them to remain silent after the inappropriate behavior.
Typically, sexual predators target the most vulnerable young athletes for abuse that are easily impressionable. Often, the predator asks their young victim that they can “keep a secret.”
Over time, the predator might develop a close bond with young players and ply them with gifts and money, making them feel special and unique. Many team coaches, assistant coaches, mentors, and staff members can easily isolate an abused child to engage in inappropriate sexual misconduct.
After the sexual assault, the abuser often threatens the child, telling them that they will be in trouble if they speak about what occurred. Often, the child is threatened with expulsion from the team should anyone find out.
The Unacceptable Rate of Sexual Assault in Youth Sports
Across the United States, many allegations involving youth sports have revealed hundreds of allegations and indictments of child sexual assault occurring in organized sports.
Many of these sex abuse cases handled by an experienced lawyer have resulted in million-dollar settlements where the parents of a child have filed a case against a youth sports leaders or team coach. Contact us for more information.
Even though state law provides protection to children, not all cases involving child sexual abuse have resulted in criminal charges. In many incidents, the state Attorney General’s office has looked the other way to hold the legal or predator criminally responsible.
Charges are typically filed only after multiple-league sexually abused victims come forward to identify the inappropriate relationship the team coach had with the underage players.
A few years ago, JAMA Pediatrics published a study revealing over thirteen thousand minors up to the age of seventeen surveyed for an inappropriate relationship with a team coach and inappropriate conduct.
The survey revealed that approximately one percent of players surveyed revealed that they were a victim of abuse from someone at school, on the team, or participating in youth sports.
However, some statistics reveal that there may be more than one hundred thousand victims that participate in youth activities. The statistics reveal that many victims report being the victim of verbal or emotional abuse when the team coach or staff member called them names, said something mean, or did not want them participating on their team.
The Need for Background Checks
Youth sports leagues, including the youth soccer organization, recognize the crucial roles played by team coaches, instructors, and volunteers in recreational sports. Many of these individuals devote their time and energy to better their community and serve young athletes.
Unfortunately, their access to children can create serious problems in organized youth sports, especially when groups failed to conduct comprehensive background checks.
For youth sports leagues, conducting precautionary background checks help protect minors against child sexual abuse, inappropriate touching, and sexual molestation. State-mandated background checks help to identify sexual predators involved in previous abuse cases that harmed, or could have harmed, at least one child.
Any youth sports organization that does not adopt the required steps in screening team coaches, employees, and instructors, places children at risk and harms the community.
Any abuse by a coach or others associated with children sports leagues violates criminal law and destroys the league’s reputation.
Some youth sports groups use “do-it-yourself” online searches to gain information about potential employees and volunteers.
However, online screening without the consent of the individual violates the federal government’s Fair Credit Reporting Act (SCRA) and increases the potential of victims experiencing inappropriate sexual contact or injury.
Instead, background checks should be conducted using national reputable background screening businesses that follow the law.
Additionally, using an Internet background screening service could place children at risk and increase the organization’s liability if the information is not updated or accurate.
An online search may not identify a youth sports group applicant with previous criminal charges or allegations of sex abuse. A professional screening process will verify the applicant’s identity and past criminal history through various means that will identify red flags of sexually inappropriate behavior.
These questions might involve:
- How does the background processing company verify the information’s reliability, and how it is reported?
- Does the background check company pull information from a multi-jurisdictional database that might include sex offender registries at the national, state, and county level?
- Are the databases used during the search frequently updated to identify any incidents of sexual assault or abuse?
- Is the background checking company FRCA compliant and can they help this youth sports group with the needed requirements?
- What types of background check customer support does the company provide to help our organization identify red flags, sexual misconduct, and past criminal activity?
The only way youth sports leagues can ensure that children are protected against sexual abuse within the organization is to collect pertinent information through background screenings. The data helps identify sexual predators within the organization.
Typical Background Check Requirements
All potential and existing coaches, coach assistance, and volunteer parents helping Little League, soccer, and other organized sports must apply for a background check. These checks ensure the highest level of young players’ safety.
The background check screening process usually involves all child players, coaches, parents, and volunteers. The process typically involves:
- Every adult with access to children must submit information and agree to a mandatory background
- Any red flag identified during the check screening process might require the individual’s access to children to provide additional information
- The organized sports group will conduct seasonal/annual background screening on every coach, employee, and youth sports leagues volunteer
- To participate in the youth sports leagues, the applicant must pass a screening process that allows them to travel throughout the state with access to youth sports athletes.
Nearly all youth sports leagues conduct annual background checks to ensure the well-being and safety of all youth participants.
The Youth Organization Must Prevent Grooming
Nearly all parents with children participating in youth sports believe that their child is, at all times, playing and learning in a safe environment. The childs’ mom and dad never expect that they might be handing their son or daughter over to the control of a sexual predator.
The child’s parents trust that the coach, assistant, organization, volunteers and other parents will conduct themselves as upstanding adults. Unfortunately, reports of a young child being sexually abused during activities in youth sports leagues are not uncommon.
Typically, sexual predators are identified as “groomers” or “grabbers” that usually begin as innocent appropriate behavior. It is typically only after a coach, volunteer, or other parent crosses inappropriate boundaries that the child is sexually abused or assaulted.
The Indicators of Sexual Grooming
Unexpected sexual abuse by a coach might happen slowly in the grooming process. Usually, a sexual predator will identify a vulnerable child that lacks self-confidence, has low self-esteem, or is not currently receiving their parent’s attention.
These predators tend to follow certain patterns that include:
- Ensure that their victim participates in peer-related activities away from the playing field
- Desensitize their victim to their sense of touch by patting, tickling, wrestling, or stroking them
- Isolate victims to be alone with them for a significant amount of time
- Urge the child to keep secrets
- Make the victim feel responsible for what the inappropriate sexual molestation
- Invade the child’s personal space or life with inappropriate invasions of their boundaries
- Give children of sex abuse gifts and special privileges
- Discuss inappropriate adult matters based on the child’s age
- Spend time alone with the child during youth sports activities and outings when transporting to events or another high school
- Expose children to pornography, ask them sexual questions, or tell them sexual jokes
- Inappropriately touch victims through physical contact, kissing, or hugging
Who are the Predators?
Many young athlete sexual abuse scandals have involved coaches, assistant coaches, sports directors, and staff members. However, an abuser can be any man or woman with access to sports centers and schools where young athletes engage in sports activities.
In 2017, legislators enacted the Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act to protect young athletes from sexual harm. The act requires all paid coaches, managers, trainers, the board of trustee members, and volunteers to report any suspicion of child molestation or neglect including child sexual abuse.
The allegation must be submitted within twenty-four hours from the time when the team member became aware of the alleged assault. Anyone making the report must call 911 to notify local law enforcement and contact Child Protective Services.
Additionally, the reporter must notify the US Center for Safe Sport either by phone (720) 531-0340 or online.
Deterring Predators From Participating in Youth Sports
Youth sports administrators have a legal responsibility for minors from child sexual assault. Organizers must establish and enforce guidelines and provide adequate training for coaches, volunteers, and others participating in youth activities designed specifically to protect children from inappropriate contact, criminal activity, and sexual misconduct.
Child sexual assault is a serious problem among coaches that tends to make national headlines creating outrage among use sports organizations. Fortunately, administrators, volunteers, and parents can protect minors. Their efforts can help identify verbal, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse.
The actions of those in charge can help eliminate harassment, bullying, neglect, initiation rituals, and hazing that are all forms of physical and sexual assault.
Failing to take protective measures has resulted in civil abuse cases where the victim (plaintiff) has received financial compensation and the predator has been held legally accountable.
Soccer Sexual Assault Lawsuit Settlement
In August 2018, the Northern California affiliate of the US Youth Soccer Association agreed to a negotiated settlement of $8.2 million to resolve a lawsuit involving sexual abuse and inappropriate contact and misconduct.
The multi-million dollar case involved a Sunnyvale coach convicted in two thousand twelve of sexually molesting a former player when she was thirteen years of age.
The plaintiff had alleged that the organization failed to appropriately screen the sexual predator. The now-adult plaintiff claimed that the predator with a previous domestic violence conviction would not have and qualified to work, had the organization conducted a background check, which they did not.
The sexual abuse victim was eager to hold the Sunnyvale coaches legally and financially, to ensure that other children in the organization protected from the coach, and the youth soccer association from an inappropriate relationship, sexual abuse, or injury. It took years to resolve the multi-million dollar case.
In two thousand twelve, the team coach pled guilty in court to charges of continuous sexual molestation involving a child and a single count of lewd and lascivious acts on a minor under fourteen years of age. At the time of the sexual injury, the coach was thirty-seven years old. He received a fifteen-year prison sentence.
The Statute of Limitations
Every state sets limits based on the statute of limitations that restrict how long victims of sexual abuse can file a civil lawsuit in court against the sexual predator. In some states, the Legislature has extended the law in how long a sexual abuse plaintiff can file a case after they reached adulthood.
Typically, the statute of limitations clock starts running when the players knew or reasonably should have known that they were section molested as a child. Time is of the essence though. Speak with a lawyer now to ensure that you can still file a compensation case and hold the predator and sports league legally and financially accountable.
Hire a Soccer League Sexual Abuse Attorney to Handle Your Case Now
The sexual assault and injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers know that abusing children is reprehensible. Any predator harming a child and any organization that allows the abuser access to the victim must be held accountable.
Was your loved one sexually abused? If so, contact our law office at (888) 424-5757 today to schedule a free case evaluation. Speak with us in a confidential setting about what happened.
Let us begin an investigation to gather evidence, speak to eyewitnesses, and build a solid case for justice. All victims of sexual abuse could be eligible to receive monetary compensation. Filing a case in civil court will hold the institution accountable and ensure that young athletes in the future never suffer the damaging effects of molestation.
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