Posts Tagged ‘child protection’

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.


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.

Challenges of Writing Policies – Coach Accused of Molesting Child on Overnight Trip

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

Often, the focus on screening and managing coaches turns on the coach who volunteers with no clear attachment to any player or participant in the organization.  The coach may be single or married without kids, but volunteers to work with youth players.  These volunteers often face heightened scrutiny.  However, a recent case from Indiana reminds us that there is no profile that a club can rely on to decide that some coaches are safe and some require extra attention.

A travel soccer coach who coached his daughter’s team was recently arrested and charged with molesting one of his daughter’s friends both in his house and on an overnight trip to Kentucky.  (Full Story Here).  The article is not clear on whether the victim was a player on the team, but another report states that the coach is accused of raping the girl while staying at a hotel for a soccer tournament.   One of the challenges in crafting policies for youth associations is finding the right balance with coaches who have children competing.  In that circumstance, there may be numerous valid reasons why a coach may have contact with a youth player in his home or in other settings outside of the association.  However, those valid reasons could also provide cover to a predator who fixates on a friend of his own child.

At Placek Consulting, we specialize in drafting child protection policies that find a balance between the legitimate interaction between parent volunteers and youth participants, and the need to protect both the association and its players.  Let us help you draft or review your policies to be sure that your child protection goals are met.