One of the great unaddressed issues in youth sports risk management is how we share information about “problem” volunteers and employees. This problem is perhaps highlighted by the recent arrest of an Oregon gymnastics coach.
According to the Mail-Tribune, a gymnastics coach, who doubled as a sports photographer, was arrested and charged with encouraging child sexual abuse and invasion of privacy after a search of his home turned up photographs of young gymnasts in various states of undress. According to the report, the suspect would videotape his photo shoot subjects in the changing room. He was discovered in conjunction with an investigation for downloading child pornography.
The article also reports that the suspect had worked at another gymnastics school and been terminated. The owner of the school refused to answer questions about the reason for his termination saying he was “was fired from SOGA on April 23, 2008 for reasons that were never disclosed… We cannot speak about the charges against [the suspect] and how they pertain to SOGA at this time, per the request of the lead detective.” The article indicates that he was hired with at least one more school, and continued his photography business after this time. He also had previously worked as a coach in southern California. While we don’t know the nature of the initial termination, the silence of the first employer raises questions. Was there information that would have led another school not to hire him? Could sharing information have prevented the crimes he is accused of?
State and national governing bodies should be looking to facilitate information sharing between their affiliate members. This is particularly important in an increasingly mobile society. A local club may terminate a problem volunteer, but without sufficient information sharing, that volunteer may become a problem, and a threat, to another nearby club. Ask Placek Consulting how we can help you achieve this goal.
Read the original story here. Mail Tribune.com