When a person experiences sexual abuse from a trusted community leader, the results are devastating. The impact on your life can last a lifetime and that of your child if the violation has occurred from a trusted coach of a youth organization. These community groups, such as youth programs, camping, and sports, are intended to provide our children with a safe and caring environment to attend with the opportunity to socialize with their peers.
The adults chosen to lead these programs should undergo background checks and have personal references to weed out those that our predators of your children. These programs must adopt procedures and policies that screen adults they are offering to work with children so that a vulnerable young person is not placed at risk.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) states to prevent child sexual abuse within youth organizations; programs have to implement a screening process. Volunteers need to be hand-selected after a screening and interview process, and those volunteers then have to be trained. They also need guidelines established regarding how to interact with children and how to respond to inappropriate behavior.
When youth organizations fail in their responsibilities to adequately protect your child, and a coach is allowed to opportunity to abuse them sexually, you have the right to file civil litigation. This legal process can help with the healing process by finding closure, and seeking justice, also to ensure changes are made to the organization’s policy to ensure more children are not harmed.
Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm understands the difficulty of this situation. We have experience with sexual abuse cases and will handle your case with the compassion and respect you and your child deserve.
Sexual Abuse From a Youth Sports Coach
Several sports leagues offer your child the opportunity to enter a friendly sports competition with their peers. These programs are an important part of many young people’s lives, and they attend these groups with full trust that you, as a parent, are sending them somewhere that is safe.
During these events, young athletes spend much time with team volunteers and coaches. Their contact is during practices, playtimes, travel time to tournaments, and for some, there are special training camps chaperoned by the coaches. During these times, the coaches have the opportunity to spend a significant amount of time alone with the children.
Coaches of youth sporting programs build a considerable degree of trust with a child. As a coach, they can use their authority to influence and take advantage of the children under their care. Children are often told they should listen to their coach by their parents, as the coaches are supposed to be handing out advice on how to play better. Coaches instill in their teams ‘team mentality’ which can make a young person more vulnerable as they worry about shame, stigma, retaliation, or repercussions from the rest of the team members. All of these situations plus peer pressure make for a powerful tool a coach can use to force a child into a sexual abuse situation.
Youth Camp Coaches and Sexual Abuse
Summer camps are great excursions for a young child to spend time away from home with peers under the protection of volunteers, counselors, and coaches. These camps guarantee to parents that they will care for and protect your child. They are required to provide a child in their program with reasonable care when they choose employees, volunteers, camp staff, and coaches for their sporting activities.
When your child is not provided the proper supervision, you expect while they are at camp, it can result in peer-on-peer sexual abuse or sexual abuse from a coach or other adult in the program. The camp must supervise and care for your child while in their care, and when a child is sexually abused while at camp, it makes the camp liable for the damage suffered by your son or daughter.
Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm understands the rules these youth camps are supposed to follow, and how allowing sexual abuse to occur with your child creates one of the most devastating events you and your child will ever go through. The camp is just as accountable as the coach who committed this heinous crime, and they are ready to stand beside you and your child to see that justice is received.
Coach and Youth Leader Sexual Abuse
Sports coaches, such as those teaching swimming, gymnastics, and the many different ball sports, along with Boys and Girls leaders are mentors to our children. These organizations have been around for a long time and are associated with providing good activities and safe havens for our children.
While many of them provide good places and great opportunities for your child, many are also aware of the problem with their employees, volunteers, and coaches sexually abusing young children. From almost its beginning, the Boy Scouts have kept records of their volunteers, counselors, and coaches in what they call, ‘perversion files,’ whom they know have sexually abused innocent scouts. These sexual acts create life-long symptoms in their young victims such as anxiety, inability to trust, and depression.
Victims sexually abused by coaches, leaders, or counselors in any youth program are entitled to justice for the injuries they will live with for the rest of their lives. Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm will help you file civil claims to ensure this perpetrator cannot hurt any more young people.
Young People and a Coach’s Sexual Abuse
Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm holds sexually abusive coaches responsible for their actions, as well as the educational community that failed to protect your child. No matter which type of coach, a theater coach, sports coach, or any other school employee, the school is responsible for screening their employees and screening out sexual predators. When they do not follow the proper procedure to ensure your child is in safe hands, they too become responsible for any harmful actions that have been inflicted.
The Jerry Sandusky case in 2011 brought public outrage to the forefront of the news. His conviction for sexually abusing young boys was not the first time he had faced allegations of abusing the young. The same is true for the outrageous accounts of Larry Nassar, who sexually abused more than 250 athletes. Sandusky was first investigated back in 1998 for sexual misconduct, and Mr. Nassar’s allegations went as far back as 1992.
How is it possible these predators were allowed to continue contact and the opportunity to abuse the young sexually for so many years. Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm will help you to stop the coach from hurting any more young people. They will make sure all proper authorities are contacted as well as any licensing boards.
Student-athletes are especially vulnerable to their coach’s actions as they have spent their informative years following their orders with no questions asked. A child is taught that their team is their family and what they do and what they say can affect the whole family. These grooming techniques inflicted on a young athlete by their coach makes them vulnerable to sexual abuse. They are taught that their behavior can harm their ‘sports family’ and are shamed into silence to protect this family.
Students and other young people are often afraid to talk about their sexual abuse as they are embarrassed, and these feelings extend to their school as well. This silence can hinder the necessary actions that need to take against these predators.
The word ‘coach’ makes people think of athletic sports competitions. A coach is often thought of as someone who teaches children how to throw and catch a ball. A coach can help someone outside the sports industry. Dance is considered an art, not a sport; however, some coaches teach your child how to perform through music and steps. Dancers are just as much at risk for sexual abuse by their coaches as a ballplayer is at risk.
The New York Ballet was in the middle of the scandal, which showed that male dancers shared pictures of naked ballerinas; they also abused drugs and degraded women. The culture within this Ballet Company was revealed to be outrageous and sexually abusive. There were multiple accounts of sexual abuse being inflicted by the coaches, and directors, who were able to pressure the young women to sleep with them to receive leading roles.
Cheerleading is another area where coaches have influential power over the members. Interviews were conducted with some of the NFL, NHL, and NBA cheerleaders, and another culture was uncovered, which showed how sexual abuse was used against the cheerleaders and used for the team’s profit. These cheerleaders were exploited by being sent to pregame tailgating gatherings and were subjected to sexual comments and abuse by fans.
Dancers and cheerleaders began working towards their careers as young children. They grew up in this culture, and by the time they are adults and can recognize sexual abuse, it appears like normal behavior to them, and they know there will be serious backlashes if they do not comply with their abusers.
Do Schools Protect Against Coach Sexual Abuse?
When an allegation is made against a coach for sexual abuse, the school’s first act is to resolve the dispute through a settlement, which is often made in cash to the victim, and then keep the disciplinary actions quiet. There are even schools who have hired coaches they know to have a history of abuse. This policy is called ‘passing the trash,’ and is used to retain a school’s reputation even though it puts their students at risk.
For the most part, a school system does not have a structured internal process to investigate a sexual abuse complaint. For the schools which do have a system in place, they find it difficult to proceed with sexual abuse allegations due to the Department of Education’s Title IX.
- Title IX
In November of 2018, U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy D. DeVos released Title IX. This rule has sparked much confusion and controversy. The federal law created by Title IX states no person in the U.S. can be discriminated against based on their sex in any educational program or activity that receives federal funding.
On the national level, Title IX is enforced by the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. The enforcement includes conducting compliance reviews and responses to alleged sex discrimination.
DeVos’s rule has redefined sexual harassment to be both pervasive and severe. This definition is different from Obama’s definition as ‘unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature,’ which included sexual favor requests either verbally or non-verbally, or physical conduct considered sexual in nature.
The new rule mandates Title IX investigations include live hearings along with cross-examinations. This practice was discouraged under Obama’s administration. Evidence is available to both parties under this new rule as well, and it eliminates restrictions on the parties’ right to talk about the allegations.
Victims of Sexual Abuse by Their Coach Do Not Understand Their Rights
Students do not always understand that their coach is demanding a trade-off when they perform sexual abuse against their will. The threat of giving in to sexual demands in return for their chance of staying on the team is not always seen by the student as sexual abuse. Another problem with sexual abuse committed by a coach against a young person is their peers are often the ones asked to investigate the charges. It is a conflict of interest when a coach’s friends or other coaches are tasked with reviewing sexual abuse charges.
Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm is ready to sit down and talk with someone who has suffered sexual abuse from their coach. We are committed to helping you understand, you have rights and explaining what those rights mean to you in seeking compensation and justice for these unspeakable crimes.
Who Is Responsible When a Coach Commits Sexual Abuse?
When a coach commits sexual abuse against a child, they must be held accountable. The coach alone is not the only one responsible; however, as the school, they work for must screen every potential employee and investigate any complaints that have been filed on them. When a school fails to follow through on this procedure, they are also held accountable for the coach’s criminal actions.
Athletic Organizations and Their Reporting of Sexual Abuse
In the State of California, the current statute which mandates reporting of any official that comes into contact with minors regularly is the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA). This Act means that people such as teachers, clergy, or any other responsible adults working with young people, have to notify the authorities if they are made aware of a child being sexually abused, or abused in any form, as well as if they suspect neglect of the child is causing an issue with the child’s welfare. Athletic directors and coaches are not mandated under this Act to report such actions; however, educators are.
The NCAA’s Handbook (National Collegiate Athletic Association) does require athletic staff members to report any alleged or suspected sexual abuse to appropriate campus offices. The athletics department is not considered the appropriate staff to receive an allegation of sexual abuse.
The new legislation is seeking to protect minors and young children participating in sports or other activities that require coaching. We have much work to complete yet before this protection covers all children, and it is still a significant issue on the college and university levels. Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm understands the pain involved with this crime and the frustration of gaining justice and compensation. We are ready to help you, or someone you know who has suffered at the hands of their coach.
The Safe Sport Act to Protect Athletes From a Coach’s Sexual Abuse
In February 2018 a bill that had been introduced into the Senate became a law. Protecting Young Victims from the Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act, or Safe Sport Act makes those involved in amateur sports organizations responsible under the law to report sexual abuse. They are also required to implement protection policies for all their athletes.
The creator of this bill, Nancy Hogshead-Makar, says this statute is just our beginning to protect our children in every single sport. This new law requires all youth sports organizations to report any allegation of sexual abuse to law enforcement within 24 hours of receiving the complaint. It is no longer left up to the internal board members of the institution.
Under the Safe Sport Act, a coach found guilty of sexual abuse will have to pay their victim a minimum of $150,000 when convicted of the charges. The Act also created an independent body that will be responsible for investigating complaints and holding organizations compliant. With this outside body, it is believed there will be less bias in the investigations.
Filing a Claim for Sexual Abuse by a Coach
As a victim of sexual abuse by a coach, it is your legal right to take the perpetrator and the employee they work for to court. This legal process not only serves to bring you some sense of closure and justice to your family, but it can also help save other children from having to experience this horrible crime. Sexual abuse at school can be difficult, and Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm understands the emotional needs involved with the victims of these crimes. When a coach sexually abuses a child, they break the child’s trust.
Civil proceedings will allow you to hold different entities accountable for the role they played in allowing sexual abuse to occur. You will be able to file these proceedings against:
- The Sports Organization
The organization which allowed the coach to work with your child, and presented them with the opportunity to abuse your child sexually may be charged as failing to recognize and report behaviors to the law officials. When they formally fail to address complaints, do not take corrective actions against known abusers, or have not performed the proper screening process of their members, you may be able to hold them accountable in court and require them to pay restitution.
- The Coach
It is illegal for an adult in the position of authority and trust to commit sexual abuse, harassment, or any other form of abuse against their young athletes. Sexual abuse covers everything from making sexual jokes, discussing sexual matters, exhibitionism, or the sharing of pornographic materials.
Predators of children seeking sexual gratification fall into two categories. They are either considered groomers or grabbers. A groomer is the most likely to commit sexual abuse in youth sports as it is their strategy to groom their victim by choosing a most vulnerable child. They will desensitize the child to touch and begin invading their boundaries. They will also start to find ways to be alone with the child all the while urging them to be quiet and instilling a sense of secrecy regarding their time together. They will then make the child feel responsible for the sexual abuse committed against them.
The grabber seizes any opportunity to perform sudden and inappropriate actions.
- The School District
The school district who is responsible for hiring the coach is also responsible for taking the appropriate actions to prevent child sexual abuse. They must also follow up on any complaints of sexual abuse and take the required steps to report the incident to the authorities.
Evidence Needed to File Sexual Abuse Charge Against a Coach
When you file a charge of sexual abuse against a coach in civil court, you will need to prove:
- The occurrence of abuse by the coach
- The harm caused to the child
- The liability of each party you are filing against
Proving child sex abuse occurred can be difficult as there will be no third-party witnesses to the crime, and the perpetrator often does not leave any physical injuries such as bruises, cuts, or other evidence on the skin. There may only be the word of your child against those of the coach when going to court. There are other pieces of evidence you could find and use:
- Anyone the coach has spoken to about the abuse
- Police reports or other information obtained from a criminal investigation on the coach in relation to a parallel investigation
- Medical evidence, or results from a physical examination, and possibly the results from a rape kit
- Witnesses such as social workers, therapists or doctors your child have confided regarding the abuse
- Anyone who has directly witnessed the coach grooming or abusing your child
- Reports from other victims who have been abused by the coach
Find An Attorney Near Me Who Can Help With Sexual Abuse by a Coach
Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm understands the emotional time you are going through when their coach has sexually abused your child. We are prepared to handle your fight against this predator and seek legal justice and compensation you and your child deserve.
Call us at 310-359-9451 today and set up an appointment to discuss your case. We will work together to end this abuse from happening to any other child and make sure your child receives any help they need, along with compensation for their suffering.