Archive for the ‘Abuse/Molestation’ Category

Sadler Interviewed in Rough Notes Magazine

Sadler Insurance president sought for insight on amateur athletics risks

John Sadler was interviewed and widely quoted in the April 2013 edition of the insurance trade industry publication, Rough Notes. In an article entitled “Knowledge To Win In Amateur Athletics”, Sadler was quoted on a variety of topics as follows:

  • The increased risks of travel teams over recreational teams in terms of more intense competition, auto IMG_3490exposure from frequent travel, and motel downtime incidents such as drownings and near drownings.
  • Increased prevalence of individual sports instructors looking for General Liability and Professional Liability Coverage.
  • Carriers taking the sex abuse and molestation risk more seriously in wake of the Sandusky scandal by mandating risk management that goes beyond the passing of a criminal background check. Examples include the adoption of written policies and procedures such as the use of a buddy system where a single adult is never alone with a single unrelated child and an incident response plan that requires notification of law enforcement.
  • New carrier fears over concussion exposures and the imposing of Participant Legal Liability policy aggregates for larger associations that will cap total losses in a single policy year.
  • The new emerging cyber threats of hacker access to confidential information and media liability arising out of the posting of defamatory content on sports organization websites and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
  • The need for coach Professional Liability coverage for those frivolous lawsuits in which coaches are sued for benching an athlete or improper coaching that allegedly results in loss of a college scholarship or pro career.

Source: Knowledge To Win In Amateur Athletics; Rough Notes, April 2013

Serial Child Molester Denied Parole

Safeguarding against other predators

This news hits close to home for me because the villain is from my home town of Columbia, SC, was league president over the youth baseball league in which I played as a child, was a abuse and molestation in youth sportsclient who purchased sports insurance from my agency, and ruined the lives of many people in my community.  His name is Chuck Sullivan and he was denied parole after serving 15 years of his 35 year sentence. He was convicted in 1998 on 32 charges of fondling, sexual exploitation of minors, and disseminating harmful material to minors in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

He used the all-too-familiar methods of winning the trust of young boys (and their parents), providing liquor, sexually exploiting them, and then shaming them into silence. This is called sexual grooming and is the topic of an earlier article we posted, Protecting Children against Sexual Abuse and Molestation.

Sullivan’s plea to the parole board was pathetic.  His plan was to get married to a girl from Dubai, which would provide accountability that he lacked in the past.  He would then work with a nonprofit called Jump Start, which would involve helping people through counseling to avoid alcohol and other triggers.  As the mother of one of his victims testified at the hearing, “One of the ways that Chuck gained access to victims in society was by helping to develop and implement programs…. this shows a continuous pattern in his life.”

Sullivan was employed by a school and a children’s home and volunteered for a number of youth sports organizations. Looking back, had these organizations implemented the free abuse/molestation risk management programs that we offer to our clients, it is likely that he would have been stopped earlier.  The use of criminal background checks (only 5% of predators have criminal backgrounds that could be detected upon running a check), and the education of administrators, staff, and parents about sexual grooming techniques and policies and procedures such as the use of a buddy system where a single adult is never alone with a single, unrelated child could have prevented a lot of damage.

I often hear people say that abuse/molestation can’t happen in their sports organization because everyone knows everyone too well and they don’t need to be concerned with background checks or risk management.  My response is to share the Chuck Sullivan case with them and say that if it happened in my community, it can happen anywhere.

The State Newspaper, March 28, 2013.

Protecting Youth From Abuse/Molestation provides information and assistance to youth organizations

I recently spoke with Katherine Starr, the founder and president of, about her philosophy on how to better protect youth athletes against bullying, mental abuse, Safe4athletes.orgphysical abuse, sexual harassment, and sexual abuse. Katherine offers a unique perspective as a former Olympic swimmer who endured sexual abuse during her 10-year career. The lack of resources available to help her was what propelled her to provide a solid framework to help vulnerable youth

Katherine recommends that youth programs create an athlete welfare advocate position. The staff person in this position is responsible for providing staff members with an education on topics related to child abuse and being the confidential contact youth can turn to discuss these types of unspeakable problems.

To learn more about becoming or creating the volunteer position of athlete welfare advocate in your sports program or learning more about the other athlete protection policies that every youth sport program should have in place, go to Safe4Athletes and find out how to implement a program for your local sports program. There is also a list of organizations that are taking advantage of her services, as well as a list of coaches who have been permanently banned from their governing bodies.

Katherine also blogs for the Huffington Post.

Stricter Underwriting Guidelines for Colleges

Sandusky scandal prompts carriers to reassess policies

Due to the Penn State scandal over Sandusky and the incidents of sexual abuse/molestation, insurance carriers are now more apt to tighten underwriting and require more information from schools regarding their preventive measures.

“Insurers will require more data from colleges to find out what other programs they may offer. I think insurers will pay more attention to what takes place during summer months, all the camps that take place, what procedures are in place and how schools are monitoring the environment,” said Bill Waldorf, president of a brokerage that offers insurance for schools.

Waldorf also pointed that all higher education facilities have  exposures to children because they provide daycare, childhood learning programs, athletic activities and/or summer camps.

In addition, msexual abuse/molestationany high school students who are either taking advanced placement courses or visiting for recruitment purposes , and other youth on campus for athletic events, concerts, and faith-based programs are all vulnerable.

Most General Liability underwriters in the sports and recreation niche will be looking for the following elements as a precondition for offering sexual abuse/molestation coverage:

  • Criminal background checks on all paid and volunteer staff with access to youth
  • Written policies and procedures to make an incident less likely to occur
  • Written allegation response plan including a requirement to notify law enforcement

Also, many college and university insurance carriers may no longer underwrite camp exposure and may require camps to take out their own General Liability including coverage for sexual abuse and molestation. Here is the link to the Sadler Camp Insurance Program.

We have more information on sexual abuse and molestation risk management in our library.

Source: Insurance Journal, East, 2012/07/19

Criminal Background Check Vendors

Maintain a safer workplace with a successful screening program

When recruiting employees and volunteers, you want as much information as possible to make smart decisions. Below is a list of companies that offer criminal background check services for sports organizations.

Datasource Background Screening Services

Datasource Background Screening



For 25 years, as both a wholesale and retail background screening service provider, Datasource Background Screening Services has been wowing our clients with the breadth of our search scope,  and by providing the highest levels of accuracy and service and ease of use.  Our low-cost / high-service model makes a real difference for both individual teams and leagues.

Our service is full of tools and features that make your job easier, and we customize and refine your account services with us – all at no additional cost – in order to enable you to perform the very best background screening in the least amount of time and at the lowest cost. Combine this with our free customer support which is only a phone call away in Kansas City, our no-cost accounts, and our free user training, and your screening couldn’t be made any easier.

Enhanced Nationwide Criminal & Sex Offender Search, SSN Trace and Alias Search: $6.95

Enhanced Nationwide & Live County Follow-Up Search: $12.95

Getting started with Datasource is easy. We can have you up and running in a day. To get your questions answered and to get the full details on our Sadler program give our Director of Client Services, Clay Johnson, a call or shoot him an email.  Phone: 816-463-9282 / Email: / Website:

A good track record counts for a lot, and Protect Youth Sports has established a very firm and reputable standing within the youth sports market for Youth Sports background checksbackground screening.   Benefiting from this very much proven history could not be any simpler, as over 25,000 organizations have found before.

Many of the problems that youth sports leagues encounter with background checks are caused by low quality instant checks and state-level-only background checks. Instant checks and state-level-only checks lead to missed records, incomplete records, out-of-date records and inadequate protection from sexual predators.

  • Free video course on backgrounds checks and streamlining the screening process
  • No sign-up fees for qualified youth sports organizations
  • NAYS discounts– up to 20% off on already discounted packages
  • Prices as of 2-1-2017:
    • Basic – $7.95 (plus fees where applicable)
    • Plus- $15.95 (plus fees where applicable)

Nothing could be easier than getting started with Protect Youth Sports. Start by requesting your Free Video Course at or call (877) 319-5587.

Southeastern Security Consultants, Inc. (SSCI)

SSCI provides comprehensive and affordable full service criminal background screening program to various organizations. These organizations include park and recreation ssciagencies, churches, national youth sports governing bodies, employers and others desiring to protect their membership and organizations.  This flat fee background screening service includes a unique blend of local/national criminal history & sex offender searches with timely results and complimentary consultations.

How is the Check Done and What Information is Provided?

Our comprehensive background screening on each prospective individual includes the following:

  • Social Security Verification– This verifies the individuals name against the Social Security Number provided. This helps to eliminate the possibility of false names and/or information.
  • Address Trace– This verifies the individual’s current address and identifies previous addresses. This information is utilized to determine the jurisdiction identifies previous addresses. This information is utilized to determine the jurisdiction in which the background screening is conducted.
  • State or County “Smart Check” – A statewide or countywide (depending on the jurisdiction) criminal record check is preformed to capture all the misdemeanor and felony convictions in that jurisdiction. Utilizing the “Smart Check” the search is conducted in the jurisdiction with the longest and most current residency.
  • Let’s Check America – Provides access through The National Background Directory ™ to criminal data from 47 states where more than 75 percent of the nation’s population lives (currently over 151 million records).
  • Sex Offender Registry – Search of all 50 States repositories plus the District of Columbia for known sex offenders.
  • Volunteer Profile – Your organization will receive a profile report on each individual that will include all relevant information related to the background screening process. If there is no criminal record found, this will be noted on the profile along with the jurisdiction that was searched. If conviction(s) are found, all details including charges, court disposition(s), and sentencing will be provided

 National Center for Safety Initiatives

The National Center for Safety Initiatives is the only company licensed by Criminal background checksthe National Council of Youth Sports to interpret the results of background screening according to the NCYS’ recommended guidelines.

NCYS membership represents more than 52-million boys and girls participating in organized youth sports.  Through the use of “NCYS Recommended Guidelines for Background Check Screening in Nonprofit Youth-Serving Organizations,” the youth-serving industry now has a comprehensive and practical standard to follow. There is no need for organizations to reinvent the wheel for policy, procedures, and best practices.

The Center is NOT another single vendor background screening company. Beware of look-alike programs. The Center will carry out the entire background screening process for you, performing the check through two national databases, interpreting the results, and releasing you of the enormous burden of following federal law regarding identity privacy, data storage, and personal notification of individual volunteer disqualification, and more.

Volunteers and administrators in your organization will be best protected from  possible losses due to costly litigation that can result from a lack of knowledge or resources. There is no need to train another staff person or rely on volunteers to handle this sensitive issue.  All of this translates to a reduced liability risk for you.

Need more information? Contact National Council of Youth Sports (NCYS) at 772-781-1452 or Contact the trained staff of the National Center for Safety Initiatives toll free at 866-833-7100 or by email at

Bradley Screening

Official Dixie Baseball/Softball Vendor

Criminal background vendorSpecifically designed for volunteer and nonprofit organizations, this screening service provides a report that includes the following: criminal data information on the full name and/or alternate names used by the volunteer, dates at listed addresses, validity of the SSN provided, age/date of birth, and available phone information.

Bradley Screening has access to one of the largest private-sector criminal history databases in the nation.  We draw data from multiple criminal record sources in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  The report includes criminal data from criminal courts, state criminal record repositories, probation, prison parole and release files, sex offender registries and other government agencies, as well as additional criminal history data.

This report is meant to aid volunteer and non-profit organizations and agencies in determining whether prospective volunteers have a pattern of criminal behavior that would make it unwise for them to be working with children or other vulnerable populations.

For more information call 866-412-0545 or or email to


An easy-to-use interface provides you with quality and validated criminal results at discounted prices. Experience the difference of our support capabilities, which includes personalized customer service, training and compliance. You also get the advantage of streamlined processes and paramount privacy and security  when it comes to protecting sensitive information.  IntelliCorp is a Verisk Analytics  company and has earned formal accreditation through the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS).

Package Includes:

  • Validated Criminal Database
    • Validated Nationwide Sex Offender
    • Validated Department of Corrections
  • Unlimited Single County Searches (7 year address history)*
  • SSN Verification with Address History
  • Government Sanctions (Terrorist Search)

To Sign-up:



Youth Sports Organizations throughout the U.S. rely on JDP to screen their volunteers and ensure the safety of their children. JDP’s fast and simple ordering processes allow youth leagues to initiate and complete background checks efficiently and accurately, allowing organizations to get their coaches on the field quickly, with FCRA compliant results.

As a provider of USOPC validated screening, JDP is a trusted name across all youth sports.

Our mission is to end abuse, for every child, every day. In fulfillment of this mission, JDP has partnered with IBM Watson to develop Cognitive Screening. This revolutionary tool will allow JDP to search millions of data points not found during a standard criminal search.


JDP’s Youth Sports background screening services include:

  • Social Security Number Verification
  • JDP National Criminal Records Search (housing nearly 700 million criminal records)
  • JDP National Sex Offender Registry
  • Federal, State, and County Criminal Record Searches

Since 2009, JDP has been helping shield organizations and their people from preventable harm with our comprehensive background screening solutions. Our fast, reliable and flexible services are trusted by over 10,000 organizations, who use JDP to conduct more than 6 million screenings every year. We’re proud that our Top-Notch Service has been recognized by HRO Today Bakers’ Dozen Enterprise Screening provider list and that our clients have given us a satisfaction rating of over 98%. JDP is proud to be accredited by the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA).

Screening packages are available from $5.75.

Learn more about JDP’s background screening services for youth sports teams here:




John Sadler Quoted in Rough Notes Magazine

 When Rough Notes magazine wants to inform the insurance agent subscribers on the current state of sports insurance industry, they interview leading voices in the sports insurance niches. John Sadler is is one of those voices. You can read the  recent article in which Sadler comments on the following issues impacting the market:

  • Impact of economic downturn on sports registrations
  • Increase in volunteer theft and embezzlement
  • Sandusky impact on coverage for sex abuse and molestation
  • Impact of repeat concussions and less than concussion events
  • Need for efficiency in processing sports insurance transactions
  • Need for simple risk management tools to reduce injuries and lawsuits

Source: Rough Notes Magazine, April 2012

Sex Abuse/Molestation Coverage

Understanding the coverage all youth sports organizations need

Lawsuits alleging sex abuse/molestation have rocked the sports and recreation insurance industry in recent year. Fears are growing that the heightened media coverage of high profile cases like the Sandusky case could open the floodgates for more litigation in the future. Sports and recreation organizations and related sanctioning/governing bodies need to stay on top of this issue.

When there is an incident of sex abuse/molestation within a sports or recreation organization, it’s not just the alleged abuser who is likely to be sued. The entire board of directors and the officers are likely to be sued for failure to screen the offending staff member or volunteer and failure to implement a specific risk management program to protect the children against child predators.

Is your organizations covered?

A General LiabilityCriminal background check policy may cover allegations of sex abuse/molestation as long as there is no specific Abuse/Molestation exclusion. Coverage under such situations is not guaranteed and will depend on state case law and the exact nature of the allegations. However, most carriers that insure sports organization are likely to insert an exclusion for sex abuse/molestation.

Some carriers offer a buy-back with a specific limit for sex abuse/molestation via a special endorsement in order to clarify that coverage exists. This removes all doubts regarding coverage. When a specific limit is offered, it is usually in the form of a per claim limit and a separate aggregate limit.

Carriers that offer this coverage use specific language to place a cap on their overall exposure. This is due to fears generated by some courts having ruled that each abuse/molestation incident is a new occurrence and that successive policies can be stacked on top of each other to multiply the total aggregate limits. In addition, it’s common knowledge that most abusers/molesters have multiple victims. Furthermore, specific wording may be added to exclude coverage for the perpetrator and for other directors or officers who remained silent and did not take action despite knowledge of an incident.

Who in the organization is covered?

It is also common to see a single master General Liability policy with a Sex Abuse/Molestation limit covering an entire sports association or sanctioning body and its member teams/leagues under a single Sex Abuse/Molestation Aggregate limit. This is dangerous since those filing claims later in the policy year may find that they have no General Aggregate limits left to pay their claims. Sports organizations should attempt to negotiate reinstatement of the Sex Abuse/Molestation aggregate on a per league or per team basis.

Coverage for sex abuse/molestation can be difficult to negotiate with the carriers unless the sports organization can prove that it has implemented certain controls such as mandatory criminal background checks on all adults with access to youth, mandatory staff and parent education, policies and procedures to make an incident less likely to occur (ex: prohibition of sleepovers, no single adult to be alone with a single child, etc.), and mandatory reporting of occurrences to board and police.

For more information on this topic, our risk management library has articles, protection programs, and training videos.

A Reality Check for Youth Sports Administrators

Learn from the Paterno, Spanier, Curley and McQuery mistakes

This blog post isn’t specifically about the Penn State case and who was or wasn’t fired. Rather it’s a reality check for all involved with youth: no one is invincible. Joe Paterno, Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Mike McQuery did not commit the physical crimes against children that Jerry Sandusky did.  However, they were responsible and liable for their own actions when there is even a hint that someone is abusing a child.

The Penn State case is making national headlines because of its legendary coach and its football program, but it’s important to understand that such behavior occurs frequently in youth sports.  Most readers of this blog are involved in teams/leagues/youth programs in sYouth sports risk managementome capacity or another. Are you a coach, athletic director, team mom or a parent on the sidelines?  Whatever your position, today is the day to step back and realize where exactly you fit into the lives of the kids participating in your youth sports organization.  You are there to protect them at all costs.

Our previous blog post, Child Predators in Youth Sports, is a must read for anyone who is involved with children. It includes a link to a Sports Illustrated article written with the help of actual predators in youth programs detailing how they got away with their crimes. Did you know that, according to the article, studies have found that the average molester victimizes about 120 children before he is caught? That’s extremely disturbing! The blog post also offers useful risk management guidelines that your organization can implement today. And share this post with others so that we all can make a difference.

Follow this link for more articles on preventing sexual abuse and molestation.

Make No Assumptions When Appointing Volunteers

Criminal background checks are a must

by Michael Pfahl

Call it a “sixth-sense,” “gut-feeling” or that “little voice.” We all have it and make the conscious choice to listen or ignore it whenever it makes itself known.  Have you ever wondered if every person who was  stepped up to help as a volunteer should have even been asked in the first place?  That gut feeling becomes even more obvious when someone is over the top with enthusiasm about volunteering for a specific duty without even being asked.

Southeastern Security Consultants Inc. is the nation’s leading expert on volunteer criminal background checks.  Co-founders Randy Rodebaugh and Byron Palmer teach their clients to make no assumptions and listen carefully to your gut when it comes to providing anyone with the privilege of working with youth, seniors, and people with disabilities.  These two professionals are the antithesis of cynicism but hold firmly to the belief that when it comes to selecting volunteers, adopt the axiom TRUST but VERIFY.

“Listen to that inner voice because it only knows the truth.  Don’t become distrustful but at the same time don’t be naïve.  Don’t assume anything or feel that you know someone because you really don’t,” says Palmer.

It appears the hCriminal background checke is right.  In the first year after launching Operation TLC ² in 2007,  the  screening protocol through SSCI kept 243 of 3,500 would be volunteers with serious criminal histories out of parks and recreation programs in 16 states.  That’s a shocking 6.9% and these are people who signed a consent form to conduct the background check.  It is impossible to gauge the number of people with criminal histories that self-eliminated during when asked to consent to the check.  Another revealing statistic is that 13% of the potential volunteers that were disqualified committed their offenses outside their state of current residency.

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, about 63 million Americans, or 26.8% of the adult population, gave 8.1 billion hours of volunteer service in 2009.  Let’s cut the number in half and make the assumption that 31 million volunteers today have one-on-one access to children, youth, and people with a disability or the elderly.  Statistically speaking and applying the 6.9% disqualification rate across the estimated 31.7 million, we potentially have 2,139,000 volunteers currently working in a volunteer position that, based on their personal criminal history, simply should not be provided the privilege.

Coaches and administrators are often overworked.  It’s much easier to fill a critical volunteer position without ensuring due diligence.  But employing a warm body recruitment method and ignoring the inner voice can be a huge mistake, putting the most vulnerable people being served in jeopardy.

Being overly trusting and making assumptions about our volunteers as part of our common practice can contribute to the perception.  The reality is that bad things can and do happen.  It is much easier to ignore the little voice that sometimes screams for you to question a person’s motive.  Make no assumptions and listen intently to that little voice.

Follow this link for more information on Operation TLC2 and the Minimum Standards For High Quality Background Checks

D.Michael Pfahl D. Michael Pfahl is president of DMP Consulting, Inc.  He has over 35 years of experience working with park, recreation, and conservation agencies to effectively train volunteers for public service.  He is the founder of Operation TLC² Making Communities Safe, a National Park and Recreation Association initiative to provide agencies with resources to help manage volunteers and ensure safety.