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Youth Sports Sexual Abuse Attorneys

sportsFrom gymnastics to football and softball to wrestling, sexual abuse is prevalent in youth and teen sports at all levels. We have seen a number of high-profile coaching figures face very serious allegations for molestation and sexual abuse. Tragically, many young athletes are abused by trusted adults. Coaches, trainers, physical therapists, and other adults have been known to sexually abuse or molest children involved in organized sports. Individual athletes and team athletes are at risk. If your child is showing signs of child molestation, contact our compassionate and dedicated youth sports sexual abuse lawyers today.

Child sexual abuse includes unwanted, groomed, or forced involvement in sexual behavior. This term includes a wide range of behaviors, including sexual jokes, threats, intimidation, and advances or actions of a sexual nature.

Sexual Abuse in Sports

The International Olympic Committee provides information on its website about the process of “grooming” victims in sport. This is the process by which sexual predators target, abuse, and silence their victims.

When targeting a potential victim, an abuser may look for an athlete who is vulnerable and then find occasions to test his or her ability to keep secrets. The abuser may strike up an especially close friendship with the athlete. In order to build trust with a possible victim, an abuser might give gifts or go out of his or her way to make the athlete feel special. Sexual abusers have been known to initiate “bargains” with their victims (i.e., “you have to do this because I have done that”).

The next stage in the grooming process is to isolate and control the potential victim and build loyalty with the athlete. An abuser may refuse the child athlete access to his or her significant others or demean previous sources of friendship and support. Finally, an abuser will initiate sexual abuse. The abuser might invoke guilt by blaming the victim for the abuse. The abuser might also discredit the athlete victim by stating that other people won’t believe his or her claims of abuse. Sadly, many abusers threaten their victims. In instances of abuse in organized sport, abusers frequently threaten their victims with being dropped from the team or not being able to compete.

Detecting Sexual Abuse in Child Athletes

Sexual abuse can be difficult to detect. There is no conclusive profile of a sexual abuser, and few behaviors are definitive indicators of sexual abuse or molestation. If you are concerned that your child athlete may have been abused by a trusted adult in his or her sporting organization, watch for these behaviors:

  • Sleep problems including frequent nightmares or inability to sleep;

  • Changes in eating habits including a loss of appetite or refusal to eat;

  • Dramatic mood swings;

  • Periods of intense anger, rage, anxiety, fear, insecurity, or withdrawal;

  • Attempting to initiate conversations with other children or adults about sexual matters,

  • Repeatedly refusing to talk about about a secret that is shared with an adult; or

  • Displaying adult-like sexual behaviors, knowledge, and language.

Support for Victims of Sexual Abuse in Organized Sports

For more information about child sexual assault and molestation in organized sports, visit the International Olympic Committee website on Sexual Harassment and Abuse in Sport.

The following resources may also be of assistance to you:

Youth Sports Sexual Abuse Attorneys

If you are concerned that your child may have been the victim of sexual molestation or abuse in an organized sports setting, call our youth sports sexual abuse lawyers at Estey & Bomberger to discuss your rights. For a free and confidential consultation about your case, dial 1 (800) 925-0723.

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Call us today for a free and confidential consultation and find out how we can help. We are committed to helping you in any way possible. If you have been the victim of institutional child molestation/sex abuse, we are ready to stand by your side and fight for you.
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