Sports leagues, clubs and community organizations are a great way for kids to learn valuable life skills and make meaningful connections with their peers. And while many adults in a given community are happy to help lead youth-centered activities, time and experience have shown that not every adult volunteers with good intentions.
The Jerry Sandusky case we wrote about last week is just one of many examples of how child sexual predators use sports leagues and other youth activities to get close to their victims. Earlier this month, a former youth football coach in Bucks County, Pennsylvania was arrested for the repeated rape and sexual abuse of a girl starting when she was just 11 years old.
The 37-year-old defendant is the board president of the youth football club in his city, and also served as a coach several years ago. At the time he was coaching, the victim was a cheerleader in a squad associated with the league.
The girl’s mother became friends with the coach and his wife. And the girl, who was just 11 years old, was hired by the man as a babysitter. It was in this context that the first sexual assaults reportedly began. Over the next two years, the man found excuses to be alone with the girl and would allegedly have sex with her. The assaults finally stopped when she was 13 years old.
The girl is now 17. Up until now, she was unable to come forward because she feared for her safety and her life. However, she has since told her story to the police. In police-recorded calls made to her attacker, she confronted him about the rapes and he allegedly confessed and apologized.
Although this monster of a man could spend up to 20 years in prison if convicted, the young woman and any other victims he may have had will likely need extensive counseling and therapy in order to emotionally heal and move on. Hopefully, she will choose to pursue a civil lawsuit against her alleged abuser in addition to the serious criminal charges he already faces.
Source: NY Daily News, “Former Pennsylvania youth football coach charged with raping cheerleader,” Carol Kuruvilla, Nov. 2, 2013