Archive for the ‘Abuse/Molestation’ Category

NAYS-endorsed Background Check Vendor

Offering more than just background checks

I was just introduced to Protect Youth Sports as the endorsed criminal background check vendor of our insurance client, National Alliance for Protect Youth SportsYouth Sports (NAYS). The Protect Youth Sports website offers some unique features as well as training videos that we highly recommend.

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 background screening. Benefiting from this proven history could not be any simpler, as more than 5,000 organizations have found out.

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 These can lead to missed records, incomplete records, out-of-date records and inadequate protection from sexual predators.

Below are only some of the features Protect Youth Sports offers:

  • National re-verification includes comprehensive quality assurance and re-verification process for all records with a positive hit.
  • 50-state sex offender search using the National Criminal Database (over 400 mil­lion records) and free alias name search,
  • Free video safety training
  • No sign-up fees for qualified youth sports organizations
  • NAYS Discounts – up to 20% off on already discounted packages

Get started with Protect Youth Sports by requesting your free video course at www.protectyouthsports.com or call (877) 319-5587.

$18.5 Million Sex Abuse/Molestation Verdict

Boy Scouts lose with huge punitive damages awarded

An Oregon man was awarded an $18.5 million jury verdict against the Boy Scouts of America organization. The ruling cited reckless and outrageous conduct in allowing an assistant scoutmaster to participate after admitting to a scout official that he had previously molested 17 other boys.

Evidently the compensatory dBoy Scouts lose molestation caseamages that were awarded amounted to $1.4 million and the punitive damages were $17.1 million. This verdict was only against the national Boy Scouts organization and does not include potential damages against local councils and other individual defendants.

This verdict should serve as a wake-up call to youth sports and recreation organizations to shore up their risk management plans. It also illustrates the need to carry high limits of General Liability coverage, including coverage for sex abuse and molestation and punitive damages.

Current Sadler Sports & Recreation clients can take advantage of our free risk management videos on abuse/molestation  awareness and prevention training, as well as our abuse/molestation risk management plan template.

Source: Associated Press Release

Registered Sex Offenders and Youth Athletes

What if the sex offender is a parent or spectator?

Most national organizations require criminal background checks of coaches and in order to screen for sex offenders. Throughout our risk management materials you will find that even if it’s not requirement, these screenings are highly recommended.   But what should a league do when the registered sex offender is a parent or a spectator?

The first step would be to consult your local attorney since they would be familiar with the particular states laws.   Also, make sure that the organization is following its own policies and bylaws. The general liability policies that we write for national organizations may require that volunteers be screened, but not parents who aren’t volunteers.  This is because, as a general rule, only a volunteer who has repeated access to youth is in a position to groom them for molestation.

Whether background checks are required or not, a lot can be accomplished by educating the team/league, volunteers and parents on inappropriate boundary invasions.  More information can be found in our article Protecting Children Against Sexual Abuse and Molestation.

Sports Insurance for Sexual Abuse and Molestation

Check if you’re covered under General Liability

Insurance carriers that write General Liability insurance for sports and recreation organizations take two approaches to covering lawsuits alleging sexual abuse and molestation.  Some carriers’ policy forms remain silent on the issue under the theory that it is covered if it is not excluded.  This is usually true, but some state case law may reach a contrary conclusion.  However, most policy forms provide an affirmative grant of coverage for sexual abuse and molestation through a special endorsement.

For example, many carriers provide an endorsement that provides sex abuse and molestation coverage in the amount of $1 million Each Occurrence and $1 million Aggregate.  Furthermore, the endorsement will usually include a laundry list of exclusions. An example of an exclusions would the perpetrator for remaining passive after an incident has come to the attention of management, etc.

Some policy forms may void sexual abuse and molestation coverage if the sports organization has not implemented a written procedure requiring a background check on all staff with access to youth. program or separately to each individual named insured, such as a league or club.  It’s obviously best if the Aggregate applies separately to each league or club.

Protecting Against Sexual Abuse and Molestation

Keeping youth athletes safe from sexual predators

Child sexual predators fall into one of two categories: “grabbers” and “groomers”. Most sexual misconduct involves grooming, which can easily be confused with innocent behavior. The best way to protect children against sexual grooming  and thus sexual misconduct is to protect them against inappropriate boundary invasions.

Sexual grooming by adults involves a process with the following elements:

  1.  Finding a vulnerable child lacking self-confidence, low self- esteem, or parental attention.sports risk managment
  2. Involving the child in peer-like activities such as hanging out away from the ball park.
  3. Desensitizing the child to touch such by tickling, patting, stroking, or wrestling.
  4. Isolating by spending a large amount of time alone with the child and urging them to keep secrets.
  5. Making the child feel responsible for the sexual misconduct that has occurred.

Inappropriate boundary invasions involve the adult invading the child’s personal life or personal space by the following actions:

  •  Showing undue interest in a child
  • Giving gifts
  • Peer-like behavior like hanging out
  • Granting special privileges
  • Discussing adult matters
  • Keeping secrets
  • Being alone with, attending outings with, transporting to school and events
  • Telling sexual jokes, showing pornography, asking sexual questions
  • Hugging, kissing, physical contact

The following steps help preventing inappropriate boundary invasions:

  1. Educate administrators, employees, and volunteers on the definition and associated behaviors inappropriate boundary invasions, sexual grooming, and sex abuse/molestation.
  2. Expressly prohibit inappropriate boundary invasions.
  3. Require all employees, and volunteers to report all inappropriate boundary invasions to administration.
  4. Correct and discipline offenders and those who fail to report.

It is also interesting to note that litigation for sex abuse and molestation can occur decades after the incidents since there is no statute of limitations on this type of behavior. The alleged abuser, the legal entity, and respective directors and officers will all be sued for failure to screen, failure to respond to an allegation, or failure to implement policies and procedures to prevent occurrences. It is critical for organizations to keep all General Liability policies on hand indefinitely in the event of future litigation. In addition, the past administration will be held accountable for their lack of oversight based on today’s standards instead of past standards which were much more relaxed.

The delayed reaction nature of litigation for sexual abuse and molestation is another reason why a claims-made policy form is inferior to the occurrence policy form under a General Liability policy. Please read our article “Occurrence vs Claims Insurance Made For Sports Organizations” for more detailed information.

 Source: “Protecting Children from Sexual Misconduct by School Employees”, Donald F. Austin and Michael Patterson.