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Youth Sports Sexual Abuse Attorney

sportsWhile your children are away practicing sports at school or an after-school program, you have the right to believe those in charge are taking good care of them. Coaches, after all, serve as mentors and guidance counselors for youth during swimming, wrestling, soccer, baseball, softball, gymnastics, and other sports. Unfortunately, some coaches abuse their positions of power and commit sexual crimes against children in both individual and team organized sports. If your child is showing signs of child molestation, contact our compassionate and dedicated attorneys for victims of youth sports sexual abuse 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.

Warning Signs of Sexual Molestation by Sports Coaches

Child sexual abuse and molestation have common warning signs that some parents, teachers, and coaches may overlook. It’s also common to mistake signs of molestation for normal youth behaviors or to chalk up moodiness or depression as “typical” for your child’s age group. When you see more than one sign of molestation, however, it should be a red flag that something is amiss. If your child is involved in any sport, watch carefully for these signs of abuse by a coach:

  • Wanting to quit a sport he/she used to enjoy
  • Suddenly not wanting to go to practice or games
  • Refusal to go to functions the sports coach might attend
  • Uncomfortable talking about a certain coach
  • Refusal to tell a “secret” between him/her and the coach
  • Grades suddenly dropping in school
  • Difficulty sleeping or nightmares
  • Loss of appetite or sudden increase in eating
  • Sudden changes in behavior or mood swings
  • Unexplained anger, aggression, or fear
  • Inability to concentrate or focus on school work
  • Depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts

Sport coaches have a certain power over athletes – not only do young athletes look up to their coaches, but they might fear retaliation in the form of getting kicked off the team or “exposed” to other teammates. Many child molestation victims feel shame and guilt about the incident, and they may blame themselves for what happened. This could lead to failure to come forward about sexual abuse from coaches. It is up to you as a parent or teacher to look for warning signs of abuse and to investigate further.

Previous Sports Coach Sexual Molestation Cases

Child molestation by sports coaches is a well-documented reality, with several negligence and criminal cases throughout history. One recent case involved Doctor Larry Nassar, a Michigan USA Gymnastics doctor accused of sexually abusing his patients. He currently has more than 60 police complaints and three lawsuits held against him, including federal child pornography charges. Another case involves a high school swimming coach in Indiana who secretly molested and taped female students in locker rooms.

Unfortunately, youth sports coach molestation is not an unheard-of event in the United States. High school coaches, Olympic doctors…any adult who works with children and teenagers may be a perpetrator of molestation and sexual abuse. If you have reason to believe your child is a victim of abuse by a sports coach, report your suspicions to police right away. Express to your child that you believe him or her and you are on his/her side. Then, contact Estey & Bomberger.

Signs Your Child Athlete is Being Groomed by a Sexual Predator

Most sexual predators, including youth sports coaches or trainers, will use a grooming process before abuse begins. 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. Youth sports 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.

Previous Sports Coach Sexual Molestation Cases

Child molestation by sports coaches is a well-documented reality, with several negligence and criminal cases throughout history. One recent case involved Doctor Larry Nassar, a Michigan USA Gymnastics doctor accused of sexually abusing his patients. He currently has more than 60 police complaints and three lawsuits held against him, including federal child pornography charges. Another case involves a high school swimming coach in Indiana who secretly molested and taped female students in locker rooms.

Unfortunately, molestation by a youth sports coach is not an unheard-of event in the United States. High school coaches, Olympic doctors…any adult who works with children and teenagers may be a perpetrator of molestation and sexual abuse. If you have reason to believe your child is a victim of abuse by a sports coach, report your suspicions to police right away. Express to your child that you believe him or her and you are on his/her side. Then, contact Estey & Bomberger.

A sports coach is someone parents trust to watch over and protect their children. They are also put a position of power and have access to vulnerable child athletes. A sexual predator may work to get into a coaching role in order to have access to children and it’s up to the sports organization to protect kids from these sorts of predators. Coaches often have time alone with kids, are trusted by their athletes, and sometimes even travel with them.

Many coaches, trainers, instructors, and other adults have perpetrated horrific sex crimes against the vulnerable child athletes with whom they have come into contact with through youth sports leagues and sporting organizations. Many young athletes develop close relationships with their coaches, which are then exploited by coaches for the purposes of sexual abuse. Child athletes may be particularly reluctant to come forward with allegations of sexual abuse against a coach or trainer for fear that they will harm their teammates as a result.

According to the non-profit advocacy organization Safe4Athletes, hundreds of coaches have been banned by youth sporting organizations for inappropriate sexual conduct. Estey & Bomberger commends the following sports organizations for publicly listing online the individuals who have been banned from membership in their organization or subject to disciplinary action as a result of conduct violations.

  • USA Gymnastics: USA Gymnastics is the sole governing body for the sport of gymnastics in the United States. On their website, USA Gymnastics lists more than 80 individuals who are permanently banned from the organization for violating rules and regulations implemented to protect young gymnasts.
  • USA Swimming: USA Swimming is a national governing body for the sport of swimming in the United States. It serves more than 400,000 members. USA Swimming lists more than 60 individuals who are permanently suspended or ineligible for membership in the organization due to Code of Conduct violations.
  • U.S. Figure Skating Association: The U.S. Figure Skating Association (or USFSA) is the national governing body for the sport of figure skating in the United States. USFSA lists individuals on its website that have been permanently banned from membership as a result of their conduct.
  • USA Judo: USA Judo oversees the sport of judo in the United States. USA Judo lists individuals who have been subject to disciplinary action on their website.

We urge other youth sports organizations to follow in the footsteps of these organizations, understand the facts about child molestation and alert parents to dangerous individuals in sports communities.

If your child was victimized by a coach, trainer, or other adult while participating in a youth sports organization or organized sports team, you may be able to file a civil lawsuit for money damages against the organization. To discuss your child’s case, call (800) 925-0723 to speak with one of the compassionate California sexual abuse attorneys at Estey & Bomberger.

We represent victims of sexual abuse that took place in youth sports programs, including but not limited to the following programs:

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:

Attorneys for Victims of Sexual Abuse in Organize Sports | Coach Molestation Lawyers

Our attorneys have years of experience handling childhood sexual abuse cases, including molestation by sports coaches. We can help you understand you and your child’s rights in California and pursue compensation for damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and mental anguish. We understand child molestation laws and know how to pursue a negligence lawsuit to the fullest extent of our state’s justice system. A lawsuit won’t rewind time and take away your child’s experience, but it can help take care of the future. Call (800) 925-0723 to schedule a free consultation.

Take a step toward your recovery today

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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