May 5, 2022
Numerous individuals previously accused of sexual misconduct with minors or charged with criminal offenses are still working with children, according to a recent NBC News report.
An investigation by NBC News examined coaches previously disciplined by SafeSport – an independent nonprofit committee. The network uncovered the following:
SafeSport was created in 2018 following the USA Gymnastics sex abuse scandal involving Larry Nassar. Through a joint initiative with Congress and the U.S. Olympic Committee, SafeSport’s purpose is to investigate youth and adult abuse in Olympic-affiliated sports, according to NBC News.
“SafeSport can ban coaches from participating in Olympic events or activities – including elite youth programs in sports like soccer, tennis, swimming and volleyball – but it has no jurisdiction over the vast majority of youth sports programs,” NBC News reported.
Approximately 1,400 coaches have been banned by SafeSport. But as NBC News reports, experts say the vast number of “bans” illustrate the vulnerability of the estimated 45 million children who participate in youth sports in the U.S.
“If someone has a history of harming someone within the context of sport, they should not be continuing that role,” David Lee, the director of research and evaluation at Raliance, an organization dedicated to ending sexual violence, told NBC News. “We want to create systems to be able to ensure that people are safe from harm, and we need to be able to prevent those people from continuing doing that.”
SafeSport’s main functions include:
However, as NBC News notes, oversight for youth sports is not nearly as stringent when compared to the process of hiring teachers in schools. For example, in many states, schools are required to conduct extensive background checks for incoming teachers. But there are no such state or federal requirements for youth coaches outside of schools, according to NBC News.
Moreover, the following don’t fall under the jurisdiction of SafeSport or laws to prevent child sexual abuse in public schools:
“We need some way to better police sports,” Elizabeth Letourneau, the director of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, told NBC. “It is kind of unfortunate that we have to have sort of bespoke strategies, like this group polices Olympic sports and this group polices public education.”
NBC News also confirmed the following relative to SafeSport’s oversight of youth sports:
According to NBC, “The organization has drawn controversy almost from the start. Athletes, coaches, and senators have criticized the pace of its investigative process and its ability to truly hold people accountable.”
NBC outlined a list of various people who were banned by SafeSport for sexual misconduct allegations or charged with criminal offenses involving minors, yet are still reportedly coaching or working with children.
That list includes:
NBC News questioned SafeSport CEO Ju’Riese Colón regarding the above listed individuals. She reportedly said the effort to prevent abuse in sports “requires a commitment from people at all levels.”
“Every sport entity serving minor athletes should follow the CDC guidelines on child safety and adhere to abuse-prevention best practices, including conducting comprehensive background checks, implementing strong safety policies and offering abuse prevention training,” Colón said to NBC.
Colón reportedly also told NBC that SafeSport “strongly recommends that every sports organization review our public Centralized Disciplinary Database when screening coaches and other individuals in a position of authority, particularly those working with minors.”
Additionally, Colon noted that although its jurisdiction is limited, “SafeSport has worked with more than 900 organizations outside the Olympic and Paralympic movement to provide training,” according to NBC.
Dordulian Law Group’s founder and former sex crimes prosecutor, Sam Dordulian, noted that parents whose children participate in athletics should be outraged.
“It’s unconscionable that an organization created to ostensibly protect child athletes from sexual predators allows offenders they have identified to continue working with children. Parents will rightfully be outraged and deserve to have confidence that their children’s coaches are screened and undergo the very same background checks used to hire teachers,” Dordulian said. “There needs to be accountability in all sports where adults are working directly with children.”
The NBC News report also profiles sexual abuse survivors – former child athletes – who have reported crimes to police, but whose perpetrators remain actively engaged in either coaching or working with child athletes.
To read the full NBC News article, please click here.
In July 2021, two non-profit organizations working to end child sexual abuse and support survivors – Child USA and The Army of Survivors – officially announced the launch of the Child Athlete Bill of Rights advocacy campaign. The organizations made an official appeal to all those involved in youth athletics, requesting that they commit to preventing future abuse by adopting four guiding principles within the Child Athlete Bill of Rights.
The four main principles of the Child Athlete Bill of Rights include (under the acronym SAFE):
To read more about the Child Athlete Bill of Rights, please visit our recent blog.
The California statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse crimes is temporarily paused under Assembly Bill 218 (AB 218). AB 218, which took effect on January 1, 2020, tolls (pauses) the statute of limitations on all childhood sexual abuse through the end of 2022.
While AB 218 is in effect, any survivor of childhood sexual abuse or assault may file a civil claim seeking financial compensation until December 31, 2022. However, as of January 1, 2023, the standard statute of limitations will resume, and survivors who did not file claims will likely be left without any future legal recourse or ability to pursue financial compensation for various damages.
Additionally, California AB 218 features a treble damages clause which allows the courts latitude to triple financial damages awards in cases where cover-ups are proven.
For example, if you are a sexual abuse survivor who was victimized through a systemic cover-up (at either an individual or institutional level), and that wrongdoing was proved in court, a $10 million damages award could theoretically be increased to $30 million under the AB 218 treble damages clause.
AB 218’s treble damages clause was included in the bill in an effort to severely punish bad actors who participated in systemic cover-ups. Such cover-ups often took place over the course of several decades in organizations including the Boy Scouts of America and Catholic Church, and have consequently impacted countless innocent survivors. Despite the rampant abuse at a systemic level, AB 218 offers all survivors an opportunity at justice.
For additional information on California AB 218 and how it offers survivors of childhood sexual abuse an unprecedented opportunity at justice, please visit our recent blog post.
A California childhood sexual abuse civil lawsuit may be filed in an effort to recover financial compensation for various types of losses. Depending on the circumstances of childhood sex crime, compensatory damages may be pursued and recovered through a civil claim.
Some common damages that may be secured through a California childhood sexual assault or abuse civil claim include:
Although children impacted by sexual abuse are currently eligible to file civil claims regardless of when a crime occurred, the statute of limitations is different for adult survivors of sexual violence.
For adult sexual assault survivors, the California statute of limitations on sex crimes allows you to file a civil claim up to 10 years after an incident. Moreover, the statute of limitations for adult sex crimes allows for a three-year window in civil claims where sexual assaults lead to the discovery of a psychological injury, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Dordulian Law Group (DLG) is a proven California-based firm with decades of experience successfully handling childhood sexual abuse claims. We represent survivors throughout California as well as across the United States. DLG offers child sex abuse survivors a unique type of legal representation which includes a four-tiered team of professionals known as the SAJE Team.
Led by Sam Dordulian, a former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, DLG’s experienced childhood sexual abuse lawyers have helped countless survivors secure maximum financial damages awards.
Some of our recent sex crime civil lawsuit victories include:
For a free and confidential consultation regarding your child sex abuse civil claim, contact a member of DLG’s SAJE Team today at 818-322-4056. DLG’s childhood sex crime attorneys have helped victims recover more than $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts while maintaining a 98% success record.
Our law firm in Glendale, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and personal injury concerns.