Archive for April, 2013

Soccer Coach Arrested for Videotaping Players Changing Clothes

Written by PC News on . Posted in Coaches, Molestation, Volunteer Management, Volunteer Screening

In Lee’s Summit, Missouri, the 3500 player Lee’s Summit Soccer Association has been shaken by the arrest of one of their coaches on charges that he videotaped players on teams he coached in various states of undress. (Full story here).  He was also accused of touching sleeping players and videotaping himself while doing so.  The acts were discovered when the coach was arrested on charges of theft while attending a US Men’s National Team qualifier.  Videos in his possession were confiscated and later reviewed by police.  The videos showed the coach placing a camera in a room in his house.  Players would later enter the room to change and he would later reappear and retrieve the camera.  Neighbors reported that the coach was known to host late night swim parties for young girls, often continuing until 3 a.m. in the morning.  Further investigation showed that although the coach had previously been charged with peeping at a tanning salon, the charge was reduced to simple trespassing when it was disposed of.  (Full story here).  Although the coach in this instance had a conviction, because of the reduction in charges, it would likely not have triggered any red flags on a background check.

This story demonstrates again that background checking is not enough.  A comprehensive risk management program would have addressed extra-organizational contact.  The parents of his players expressed full knowledge that the children were going to his house.  If limits on extra-organizational contact existed and reporting methods were available, this coach could have come to the attention of the soccer association well before his arrest.  One of the benefits a strong child protection policy is that it provides awareness for the participants and their parents of the limitations on player-coach interaction, and a means for reporting actions that violate the policies.  In the absence of a strong policy, parents may be uncomfortable with some interactions, but not feel justified in bringing them to the attention of the soccer board.

At Placek Consulting, in addition to designing your child protection policies, we can also help you with an implementation and reporting plan to make sure that the policies serve not only to protect your youth participants, but to empower your members to help act as your eyes and ears on matters of child protection.

Placek Consulting to Deliver Encore Webinar for NSCAA

Written by PC News on . Posted in Board Members, Coaches, Volunteer Management, Volunteer Screening

On April 22, 2013, Scott Placek, managing director of Placek Consulting will present an encore presentation of his webinar “I Didn’t Know, So Sue Me” for the NSCAA Club Standards Project.  The webinar is free online but requires advance registration.  Click here for the registration link.

The Club Standards Project is an evaluative process focusing on youth soccer organizations that is designed to raise the standards and expectations for coach and player development.  Youth organizations participating in the NSCAA Club Standards Project are evaluated on their current performance in Coaching Development, Player Development and Administration.  Risk Management is an ever present administrative challenge for youth sports.  We are pleased to assist the NSCAA in raising awareness of the importance of risk management.

Evaluating Criminal Background Checks: Arrested Florida Football Coach Had Prior Drug Arrest

Written by PC News on . Posted in Coaches, Molestation, Volunteer Screening

In Florida, a youth football and basketball coach with over 30 years of service as a volunteer coach was arrested on charges of lewd or lascivious exhibition, performing a lewd act in the presence of a child and two counts of soliciting or committing a lewd assault or act on a child.  (Full story here.)  The allegations arose after a ten year old player reported to his father that the coach had offered him $40 to perform a sex act.  When the boy refused, the coach raised his offer to $100.  Since the initial investigation, up to seven players have made allegations against their former coach.

A spokesman for the city parks department noted that the coach had a 14 year old conviction for possession of a controlled substance.  However since the conviction did not relate to children and was so far in the past, it was decided he could continue as a volunteer.  This, of course, is a common outcome in background checking.  Various matrices exist that rate convictions by severity and recency to determine if a positive result should act as a disqualifier.  There is some merit to that.  A law abiding citizen who has a minor drug charge from their college days should not be permanently excluded as a volunteer.  A conviction for passing a bad check should not necessarily mean a person can’t be a youth coach.

However, there are other considerations in properly utilizing a criminal background check.  First, as discussed extensively on this site, a criminal background check is only one part of a risk management program.  A positive result, even if it is from a long time ago, may call for more intensive screening using your other risk management tools.  Moreover, even if a conviction is remote in time or unrelated to youth safety, it may give rise to other clues that the volunteer poses a risk.  In the case of the Florida youth coach, the drug conviction arose in his late 30s.  Moreover, further reporting shows that after serving his sentence, he violated his probation and was incarcerated again.  This factor alone should have been enough to red flag the volunteer.  A minor criminal conviction is a regrettable thing that has happened to many people.  However, after that experience, the failure to adhere to probation guidelines signifies an individual with a serious lack of understanding of boundaries and conforming to expectations.  A youth association would be perfectly correct in denying participation out of a concern that the volunteer would not comply with association rules or policies.  In this case, it is not the conviction that provides important information in screening, it is the volunteer’s response to that conviction.

At Placek Consulting, we can help you develop background check matrices or consult on individual results.  More importantly, however, we can help you put in place a full volunteer screening program. so that you are not wholly reliant on criminal background checking.