Child Sports League Sexual Assault Attorney
Childhood sexual assault affects hundreds of thousands of children around the world. While sexual abuse can happen in virtually any environment, some are more conducive to assault than others.
Unfortunately, sexual molestation in youth sports is rampant and offers a place where adults often have unsupervised alone time with children. Protecting young victims from sexual abuse in sports programs and youth sports leagues has been ineffective for many young players.
A Sports League Sexual Molestation Injury Attorney Can Help
If someone involved in organized sports sexually assaulted you as a minor, or if you believe a coach is now sexually assaulting your child, contact the personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC immediately.
We offer free, confidential consultations to protect your rights. You might be eligible for compensation from the perpetrator or another party.
The Prevalence of Sexual Assault in Youth Organized Sports
The case against Dr. Larry Nassar, a former Olympic USA Gymnastics doctor convicted of sexual abuse against gymnasts, brought new attention to the problem of sexual assault in child-related sports activities.
The issue, however, is far from new. Studies show between two percent, and eight percent of child athletes are victims of sexual predators within the context of organized sport. The youth athletic environment can cultivate many opportunities for sexual molestation against children instead of turning a blind eye against possible sexual abuse cases.
Coaches or supervisors grooming the child are among the most common signs leading up to sexual assault in child sports organizations. Grooming behaviors include showing preference to or giving special treatment to one athlete over the others, often to gain the athlete’s trust.
Some high-risk locations in organized sports environments for sexual abuse include locker rooms and trips that involve overnight travel. One-on-one training or rehabilitation sessions are also common locations for sexual assault.
In about ninety-eight percent of sexual assault cases in organized sports for youth, the perpetrator is a coach, instructor, or teacher of the victim. Females are more common victims of sexual abuse than males.
Young athletes at an elite level within their sport are statistically more likely to experience sexual assault or abuse than lower-level athletes. The type of sport, however, does not impact a child’s risk for sexual assault.
Sports League Sexual Assault FAQs
What Are the Physical and Behavioral Signs of Abuse in Youth Sports?
Many parents might not recognize the obvious physical and behavioral signs of a loved one who has been sexually assaulted. Your child’s unexplained physical or behavioral changes might include:
- Surprising aggression
- Quitting their youth organization, including the team, Boy Scouts, YMCA, Little League, Boys and Girls Club, etc
- Running away from home
- The fear of closed doors, locker rooms, or washrooms
- Slipping grades at school
- Reluctance to speak to others
- Sudden age-related inappropriate interest or discussions about sex
- Emotional disorders
- Difficulty in eating, or a sudden spike in appetite
- Genital injuries
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Bruises and scratches
What about Sex Abuse in Youth Sports?
In 2017, the United States Congress enacted the Safe Sport Authorization Act (SSAA) to protect young athletes from sexual molestation. However, even with the new law, parents and youth organization administrators must remain vigilant in protecting children from coaches and others in authority by taking actions including:
- Regulate contact between the child and coach to minimize the potential of molestation
- Youth organizations must conduct comprehensive background checks to prevent sexual predators’ access to adolescents and young children
- Sports administrators should require that at least two coaches are present on every away game or road trip
- All physical activity between coaches and children should be limited to verbal praise, fist bumps, and high five while avoiding hugging and patting children
How Do I Deal with a Teenager’s Sexual Abuse?
Do you know that your child was sexually molested by a family friend, coach, youth counselor, or staff member? Speak with trained professionals to deal with the situation correctly.
You likely need to notify local law enforcement to begin an investigation into a criminal case and turn to counselors to help the child through the process. Likely, your teenager, like all sexual abuse victims, is experiencing psychological and emotional trauma over the physical molestation.
You can also seek financial compensation to pay for your child’s healing by filing a civil claim before the statute of limitations expires.
Are My Kids Safe from Abuse in Sports?
While there are significant benefits from your child participating in new sports activities, problems could arise when the boundaries between athletes and coaches are violated. Sadly, research indicates that their coaches and other staff members sexually molest many young athletes.
Because of that, parents and others must pay attention to the warning signs that their loved one has been sexually assaulted.
What Are the Risk Factors of Abuse in Children Participating in Sports?
Recent statistics revealed that every young athlete is vulnerable to inappropriate sexual conduct by coaches, teachers, instructors, staff members, and others. Some studies show that between two percent and eight percent of all underage athletes become victims of sexual molestation while participating in sports activities.
Young female athletes are more likely to be sexually assaulted in sports activities compared to young males. Many abuse children develop eating disorders, low self-esteem, and strained parent/child relationship
How Do I Protect My Child Sexual Molestation?
Sports administrators for youth organizations must develop and enforce behavioral rules, background checks, and screenings to protect young children from sexual assault.
The youth group must also follow the “Rule of Two,” where there are always two adults present when working with one or more children, never leaving a coach alone with the child for an extended time.
No coach or staff member should be hired for the job until they have successfully passed security screenings, including interviews, reference checks, comprehensive job histories, and criminal background checks.
Signs of Childhood Sexual Assault
Many children do not come forward about sexual assault in a sports environment on their own. Reporting a problem often takes a parent or guardian to notice possible signs of sexual abuse or assault.
If you have a child enrolled in organized sports at school, church, or elsewhere, look out for these red flags:
- Not wanting to be alone with a specific coach or staff member
- Suddenly expressing disinterest in favorite activities
- Unusual knowledge of sexual activities
- Regression, such as thumb-sucking or bed-wetting
- Depression or anxiety
- Signs of trauma to the genitals, such as bruising or bleeding
- Nightmares or trouble sleeping
- Excessive fearfulness
You might also notice signs of sexual assault by the perpetrator’s behavior.
Is a sports coach giving your child gifts without an occasion, does not respect your child’s boundaries, tries to be an essential part of your child’s life, expresses an unusual interest in physical development, or has age-inappropriate relationships?
These behaviors could be signs of sexual misconduct. As soon as you notice something wrong, contact law enforcement.
How to Handle Childhood Sexual Assault or Abuse by a Coach or Other Official
First, speak to your child. Look for clues that they want to say something but cannot, such as dropping hints about talking about a specific coach or teacher. Let your child know you are listening and not to fear retaliation. Believe what your child says.
Fear of not being believed is one of the main reasons that children stay quiet about sexual assault. Express to your child that he or she is not to blame.
Then, report your suspicions to a local Illinois agency. Calling a hotline phone number such as (800) 656-HOPE, for example, can connect you with resources that can help, such as mental health counseling for your child. In many jurisdictions, knowledge of child sexual abuse requires mandatory reporting.
In the meantime, keep your child out of the organized sport and away from the alleged perpetrator. Speak to someone with the training to help you through this difficult time.
Sexual Assault Cases Involving Organized Youth Sports
Sexual assault is prevalent in every state; Illinois is no exception. In 2018, a committee in the Illinois Senate listened to testimony against a volleyball coach in Aurora (Rick Butler) that alleged he assaulted the women when minors in the 1980s. Five women in total filed a lawsuit against their high school volleyball coach, Rick Butler, for ongoing sexual abuse, assault, and rape.
Other leagues and sports teams with reported sexual assault include soccer leagues, wrestling teams, swimming and diving teams, and baseball teams.
More than twenty years ago, the women came forward but could not see their lawsuits because of the statutes of limitations. Under new Illinois regulations that increased the age of consent, the victims could finally come forward and seek justice.
One of the victims involved says sexual misconduct is a widespread issue in child sports activities that lawmakers need to address.
Contact an Attorney to Help Get Answers Related to a Sports League Sexual Assault
Sexual abuse in youth organized sports can devastate a child physically, mentally, and emotionally. It could take years for you or your child to heal.
An attorney can help you hold the abuser accountable. A lawyer can help you file a civil lawsuit against a sports coach, school, or another party.
Contact our Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation. All discussions with our law firm remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship.
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