Some of our recent posts have focused on school teachers in Pennsylvania and around the U.S. who have been accused of sexually abusing students. For all of their efforts to screen job candidates, school districts cannot ensure that child molesters will not be hired.
It may be even more difficult to properly screen athletic coaches and other adults who work with students. These individuals often face less scrutiny than potential teachers and do not necessarily have to go through the formal process of licensure. Recently, a former hockey coach in Pennsylvania was charged with more than two dozen criminal counts related to the alleged sexual abuse of a middle school hockey player over the course of several years.
Allegations against the 48-year-old man were first made public in September of last year. His accuser is now 24 years old and says that the sexual abuse first started when he was 11 or 12 and a student at the well-known Milton Hershey School. The alleged sexual abuse occurred more than two dozen times over the span of about four years.
The victim’s accounts of the abuse are similar to those in other cases of child sexual molestation. He told investigators that his coach sexually abused him in locations that included a parked car, the coach’s apartment, a school locker room and a school supply center. The coach was even so brazen as to personally sign the student out of school on numerous occasions to take him back to his apartment, according to court records.
Sadly, the defendant was able to pass numerous screenings and background checks prior to getting hired by the school. He even came with positive references. If the former coach had abused other children in the past, he apparently never faced criminal charges.
But that is no longer the case, as he now faces 27 criminal charges; 21 of which are felony counts. Hopefully, the victim’s bravery in coming forward will help take a dangerous child sexual abuser off the streets as well as out of Pennsylvania schools.
Source: Penn Live, “Molestation charges against former Milton Hershey School ice hockey coach held over for trial,” Jeremy Arias, Feb. 20, 2014