[Town] coach accused in sex case resigns

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98,500 children were sexually abused in the US in 1999, the last year for which data is available. As many camp professionals know, abuse, sexual and otherwise, occurs nearly everywhere. Yet, there is a natural inclination to believe abuse won’t happen in our own communities, not to mention our own camp. Awareness of the threat is key, and reinforcing proven abuse prevention strategies is an essential element in protecting the kids in our programs. Both are the goals for our “Abuse Alert” program. Each is a brief treatment of the topic, focussing on one real, recent, public event, gleaned from the media… reprinting the article about the event in its entirety (omitting names and identifying references to the YMCA) and providing a few important teaching points for you to share with your staff. As always, if you need additional guidance on this topic, please call us at 800-463-8546.


“[Town] coach accused in sex case resigns… defense says move does not signify guilt”

MID-SIZED NORTHEASTERN TOWN: 06/04/2003 – [Town] High School teacher [alleged predator], who was arrested last month for allegedly soliciting sex from a minor, has resigned, severing ties to the school he served for two years. His decision came only days before a scheduled probable cause hearing in [small town] District Court in [neighboring state]. The pretrial hearing was planned for today, but has been delayed until June 11.

[Alleged predator] would not comment on his decision yesterday. But his lawyer, [name], said the resignation was not an admission of guilt. “They are really unrelated,” [accused’s lawyer] said. [Accused’s lawyer] would also not comment on why [alleged predator] resigned from [town] High School, where he taught five sections of world history and served as the hockey coach. [Accused’s lawyer] pledged to vigorously defend his client at the upcoming trial. But he would not confirm whether he planned to argue at the pretrial hearing for the court to drop the charge that [alleged predator] had used the Internet to seduce a minor.

[Alleged predator] can waive his right to a probable cause hearing by mail, a [small town] District Court official said. If no hearing were held, the case would be passed to the [neighboring state county] Superior Court for a trial date.

Before his resignation, which was first reported in the [newspaper], [alleged predator] had been on unpaid administrative leave since May 15, three days after his arrest by [neighboring state] police at the [small town] YMCA, 80 miles from [town]. [Neighboring state] police said [alleged predator] had arranged to meet a 15-year-old boy for a sexual encounter.

After the arrest, police released a lengthy transcript of e-mails [alleged predator] allegedly exchanged with a police detective who had posed online as a homosexual student. [Alleged predator] sent a formal letter of resignation to the School Department late last week, [school representative] said yesterday. The letter was brief and did not explain his decision.

[Alleged predator]'s contract with [town] was set to expire on June 15, but his resignation immediately cut all ties to the school. “This is basically it,” [school representative] said. [Alleged predator]'s departure ends a turbulent period for the school, where he was regarded as a popular educator and colleague.

The arrest of the [town] resident, who is married with two children, shocked students and administrators, and prompted extensive counseling sessions for students, as well as meetings with parents.


“[Town 2] man arrested in Internet sting”

SECOND MID-SIZED NORTHEASTERN TOWN 2: 06/20/2003 - A [town 2] man was arrested Wednesday in [small town], [neighboring state] and charged with distributing child pornography and trying over the Internet to lure a child for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts. [Second accused predator], 21, traveled to [small town] on Wednesday and was stopped by police on [street] around 3 p.m. A combined investigation that began on June 9 between [town 2] and [small town] police led them to [second accused]'s location. [Small town] is about 40 miles north of [town 2].

[Second accused], a fitness room supervisor at the [town 2] YMCA, was arrested and held in the [neighboring state county] County House of Correction. He was released yesterday on $5,000 bail. His family, reached last night by telephone, declined to comment.

[Second accused] became the second [state] man in as many months to be arrested by [small town] police, who are known for their success in Internet stings of suspected child predators.

On May 12, police in [small town] arrested then-[town] High School hockey coach and teacher [alleged predator], concluding a two-week investigation during which he allegedly solicited an undercover detective posing online as a young boy.

To comply with bail conditions, [alleged predator] left the [town] home he shared with his wife and two children and moved in with his mother in [city suburb]. He resigned from his teaching and coaching posts after being placed on unpaid administrative leave, and last week he waived his right to a probable cause hearing, scheduled in [small town] District Court.


What we know:

  • Two different individuals allegedly used the Internet to solicit sex with minors; one was involved in child pornography.
  • The YMCA was not directly involved… one was a YMCA employee charged with off-the-job criminal misbehavior, the other made arrangements to meet a youth at a YMCA.

What we don’t know:

  • whether prior inappropriate meetings actually took place at the YMCA
  • whether the YMCA employee also solicited sex from minors while at work

What we must remember:

  • sexual predators can be found anywhere… this is a small community, yet they have recognized the need to aggressively combat suspected child predators in their area
  • sexual predators don’t have to look like losers… one of these was a respected educator with a wife and two children whose indictment has shocked the community… the other was a familiar face at the local YMCA
  • our facilities can be used for illicit purposes by anyone who gains access…
    • know who enters your facility
    • require positive identification of all who enter your doors
  • minors, no matter the age, need appropriate monitoring and protection while in our facilities…obviously that varies with age, but all are potentially susceptible to abuse…
    • determine what is appropriate for the ages and activities in your facility
    • communicate that decision with your staff, parents, and children
    • strictly enforce those policies
  • unsupervised building areas (e.g., programming space when not actively utilized, service or storage rooms, isolated corridors, etc.) provide opportunity and location for illicit or unacceptable behavior
    • lock the doors to all the above cited areas to prevent unauthorized entry and use
    • if you have difficulty keeping doors closed and locked install self-locking, self-closing mechanisms
    • install monitoring cameras or randomly patrol areas that are off the beaten path
  • family dressing areas are often easily accessed… and thus potentially misused
    • locate their entries where they are constantly monitored, either directly or via video camera
    • consider restricting access by requiring a key that has to be obtained from the front desk
  • spas, saunas, locker rooms, and any other area of acceptable nudity or partial nudity can be areas of abuse…protect those who use them by frequent but irregular monitoring of the area

Please call us at 800-463-8546 to discuss this or any other risk management safety tip, or visit our web site at www.redwoodsgroup.com to learn more about camp risk management issues.

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