Sports give children the opportunity to achieve success and develop character. Unfortunately, too many young athletes experience sex abuse by coaches who take advantage of their authority.
The law firm of Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard was the first to expose the corruption within USA Swimming, the organization that selects our Olympic swim team. For years, USA Swimming’s highest echelons protected predator coaches at the expense of sexually abused athletes. Yet the problem of sex abuse by coaches is not new. A number of high profile coaches are now being held accountable for their atrocious crimes, and many of them have been abusing minors for decades.
In response to recent sex abuse scandals, Congressman George Miller asked the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate youth athletic clubs’ handling of child abuse allegations, stating specifically that the investigation look at the prevalence of abuse among student athletes and the manner in which such abuse cases are reported, investigated, and resolved.
Th relationship between an athlete and a coach is a private, intimate one, and the possibility for abuse is high. Due to the shame and stigma which surrounds sex abuse, coaches’ crimes often goes unreported. On the rare occasions when coaches are reported, few are banned from coaching or prosecuted for their crimes.
An estimated 15,000 convicted sexual offenders currently coach kids in out-of-school sports, according to Southeastern Security Consultants, a company that specializes in background screenings for youth-league coaches.
Only when courageous victims and their parents come forward, represented by zealous advocates such as attorney Robert Allard, can justice be procured for the victims. Mr. Allard secured the conviction of swim coach Rick Curl, who is now serving a 30-year prison term. Thanks to Allard and his brave clients, coach Mitch Ivey has been permanently banned from coaching. Victims of sex abuse by coaches have been financially compensated for what has happened to them. Organizations have been forced to strengthen policies and procedures to help prevent future sex abuse by coaches.
Choosing an attorney in a sports-related sex abuse case is an important decision; therefore contact the law firm of Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard if you have any questions on how we may assist you or a family member that has been abused.