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Club Sued Over Player-Coach Sexual Misconduct; Lack of Policies Alleged

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

Black Hills Soccer Club, Former Coach Face Sex Abuse Lawsuit

A 23 year old former player has filed suit against her former coach and club alleging that the coach groomed her for years before convincing her to engage in a sexual relationship at the age of 17.    The coach was relieved of his duties, but had been with the club for over a decade.  In 2010, the coach had:

fallen under the suspicion of the Lacey Police Department, after he was contacted by officers February of 2010 with the victim in his van.

According to the police report, an officer responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle parked on Beckonridge Lane SE just after 9 p.m. The reporting party said the van had been parked for about an hour.

The officer found Cross, then 45, and the victim inside the van. The victim initially told the officer that she was 18, but later admitted that she was 17.

The victim said that Cross had pulled off of the road after feeling dizzy, and they had been talking. The officer wrote in the report that he believed Cross’s actions were, “highly suspect and inappropriate.”

Despite this report, no action was taken against the coach and he continued with the club.  The suit alleges that “the club didn’t have policies in place to prevent coaches from engaging in social interactions with players, texting and calling players for personal reasons, or spending time alone with players.”   The club contends that such a policy was in existence.  This “case isn’t the first in which a Black Hills Football Club coach was accused of an inappropriate relationship with a player. In 2002, former coach Dennis Jones was arrested and charged with five counts of sexual misconduct with a minor, and one count of providing liquor to a minor.”
Placek Consulting can provide your soccer club not only with policies on player-coach interaction, but with an  implementation plan to make player safety a club priority and establish reliable reporting and investigative processes.

Coaches Texting Players Has To Stop

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

If we could give just one rule for every youth sports association to put in place for child protection, it would be this:  no texting/messaging between the coaches and the kids.  Kids are kids; parents are parents.   Any matter dealing with teams, practices, performance, extra training, conflicts and the like are appropriately channeled through the parents.  If the coach’s concern can’t be addressed face to face in a public setting, then the only proper route to go is through the parent.  Reviewing the reports of arrests and convictions reported over the past few years, there are very few incidents that do not involve either texting or interaction on social media.  The prevalence of this common denominator in player solicitation and abuse, by itself, should prompt action from the national and state governing bodies to address this problem.  Once the rules are in place, then educate the parents and the players to know that such contact is inappropriate and should be reported immediately.  Terminate coaches who fail to comply.  There simply is no excuse.

In Tennessee, a 26 year old coach has been arrested for solicitation of a 14 year old player on his softball team. (Full Story Here).  In a matter of weeks, the texts from the coach changed from conversation about softball, to asking her to sneak out to meet him, to asking for a kiss and requesting photos.  Another news report states that there “were also messages suggesting they have intercourse.”  The texts were discovered by the mother, reported to the police and the coach was arrested and charged with solicitation of a minor.

This pattern repeats itself not only in youth sports cases, but in many of the well publicized cases involving public school teachers and their students.  The handwriting is on the wall.  The threat is well known.  Youth sports associations that fail to act to adopt policies prohibiting private electronic communication between coaches and players run a great risk of being found negligent, if not grossly negligent, for failing to protect their players from predator coaches.


Lakewood Pop Warner Sued, Alleged Improper Coaching Leads to Paraplegia

Written by PC News on . Posted in Board Members, Coaches, Litigation, Medical, Training

Could bad coaching lead to a lawsuit against your league? If the result is player injury, it can and already has. Yet another suit has been filed against a local sports league and its directors contending that a coach’s negligent instruction caused injury to the player. (Full story here).

The Lakewood (CA) Pop Warner association, its officers and directors, and the players coach were named in a suit filed recently in California Superior Court. The suit alleges that the player’s coaches repeatedly saw him unsafely tackle opponents head-first in both practices and games but did not attempt to correct his technique. The suit also alleges this was taught and that the players were given “repeated and incorrect instruction that Hill and his teammates tackle opposing players by leading with the head, rather than placing the head on the outside of the opposing player, as directed in national Pop Warner rules and coaching materials.”

According the the player’s attorneys “[f]ilm footage of the game shows Hill consistently making tackles with his head down, according to the complaint. At the moment of injury, Hill’s body went limp after making contact with another player while attempting a tackle with his head down. Doctors at Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center later determined that Hill suffered a catastrophic spinal cord injury, resulting in quadriplegia.”

This suit highlights how coaching education is a necessary part of any risk management plan. When we are delivering services directly to youth participants, it is vital that the person directing and instructing the players be properly trained and aware of the latest safety recommendations. The suit against the directors claims that no protocol existed to make sure the tackling rules and safety protocol were being enforced. Willful blindness will not protect an organization from suit.

One of the frequent objections we here in our presentations is a complete misconception that developing rules will render the organization more liable if they are not later enforced. This suit highlights the point we make: you are far more likely to be sued, and in a far worse position with a jury, if you ignore known risks and choose not to make policies. Enforcement and reporting is a part of every risk management plan, and we help you there too.

See how we can help your organization be proactive and develop player safety policies that are implementable and enforceable. Contact us at 512-487-RISK.