Archive for the ‘Criminal Background Checks’ Category

$300M Locker Room Peeping Lawsuit Alleges Child Abuse / Privacy Issues

Lessons to be learned about managing locker rooms to prevent child abuse and invasion of privacy

The class-action lawsuit filed in S.C. State Court alleges that Bishop England High School in Charleston, South Carolina knowingly allowed windows for staff viewing of students inside the boy’s and girls’ gym locker rooms. The windows were apparently installed in 1998 when Bishop England opened their new campus. After 21 years, an undisclosed number of former and some current students spoke out against the school, which is under the oversight of the Diocese Of Charleston. The list of defendants includes not only Bishop England and the Diocese of Charleston but also Bishop Robert Guglielmone. Bishop Guglielmone recently retired in May of 2019 at the age of 75.

This case is illustrative for the youth sports clients of Sadler Sports Insurance that have locker rooms and changing rooms either on owned or leased premises or at other premises. Note that the definition of child abuse includes non-touching offenses such as voyeurism and the photographing of minors for sexual purposes when they have an expectation of privacy. There can be a fine line between the duty to monitor and prevent bullying and hazing versus sexual misconduct. The U.S. Center for SafeSport has published guidelines for locker rooms and changing areas which maximizes privacy and child abuse protection for athletes by not allowing a continuous presence by staff inside of locker rooms. Instead, staff should be located directly outside of locker rooms and should be on call if a problem arises but periodic sweeps are encouraged.

Public knowledge emerges from voyeurism charge against school employee with window overlooking locker rooms

Public knowledge first emerged in 2019 when the school’s sports information director, Jeffrey Alan Scofield, was arrested for voyeurism. The employee told detectives that his office window overlooked the boys’ locker room, and he set up his phone between the windows and blinds for video recording. He then downloaded the videos onto a school computer. The employee was subsequently fired, convicted of voyeurism, and sentenced to time served plus 18 months probation along with being listed under the state’s sexual offender registry with a requirement to seek mental health counseling.

Defendants sued for $300 million for invasion of privacy and sexually abusive actions

The lawsuit alleges that Bishop England engaged in “dishonest, deceptive and sexually abusive actions” when it failed to protect students. The charges include invasion of privacy, various acts of negligence, breach of warranty, and unjust enrichment. The Diocese publicly denounced the accusation as having absolutely no merit stating thehigh school sued for $300 million for viewing windows in locker room windows were in place merely to supervise students to prevent smoking, bullying, fighting, and other improper behavior. The plaintiffs are asking for $300 million in damages. Larry Richter, a previous graduate of the high school in the 1960s, is the attorney handling the case on behalf of the plaintiffs. Richter enacted a previous class-action case against the Diocese of Charleston. He won a $12 million settlement on the grounds of child sexual abuse.

Since 1998, students undressed in front of coaches who had access to the windows. Richter claims the school did nothing for years to get rid of the windows. He further questions why they were ever installed in the first place.

Since the filing of the lawsuit, Bishop England has subsequently boarded over the windows and replaced them with a brick wall.

Trainings and procedures to protect students from child sexual abuse

Bishop England firmly states that they have all the proper procedures and screenings in place for new employees. The school requires all new staff to:

  • Pass a background check
  • Attend child abuse prevention training
  • Attend student boundary training
  • Sign a code of conduct overseeing how they interact with minors

Huge number of potential sex abuse victims from locker room setting

But despite these requirements and trainings, child abuse allegedly still occurred. With 687 students in the student-body, Bishop Englandsexually abusive locker room windows, high school sued High School is the largest Catholic high school in the state. Over the course of 21 years, the number of students victim to peering is theoretically in the thousands. The number gets even larger. Richter states that visiting athletes from other schools shared the locker rooms as well.

How this case applies to youth sports organizations that use locker rooms and changing areas

While this lawsuit’s subject matter occurred in the school setting, youth sports participants are subject to the same types of invasion of privacy and sexual abuse. Child abuse is not limited to just inappropriate touching. The definition of illegal child abuse is quite broad and includes voyeurism and inappropriately videotaping youth in various states of undress.

In the past, youth sports administrators keyed in solely on criminal background checks to protect their youth from predators. The problem with putting all the eggs in the background check basket is that the vast majority of predators don’t have a detectable criminal background. 

Therefore, merely running background checks is not enough to protect youth. The Safe Sport Act requires sports organizations at a minimum to provide:

  • Mandatory educational training of adult staff and volunteers with access to youth. This should include defining the various forms of child abuse including no touching offenses such as voyeurism and how to handle locker room and changing room settings.
  • Offer minor training at the discretion of the parent/guardian
  • Implement policies and procedures to reduce the chances of an incident
  • Report suspicions to local law enforcement within 24 hours
  • Prohibit retaliation for whistleblowers

Sadler Sports Insurance offers free child abuse risk management content

Be sure to check out our free child abuse/molestation risk management content which includes the industry-leading blog on the Safe Sport Act, child abuse risk management templates, types of criminal background checks, and sources of criminal background checks. The document entitled Sadler Safe Sport Child Abuse and Other Misconduct Risk Management Plan includes a section on how to manage locker rooms and changing areas.


Sources:

Caitlin Byrd. SC’s largest Catholic high school sued for $300M for invasive locker room windows. The State. February 4, 2021.

Drew Tripp. Bishop England, Diocese of Charleston sued for $300M over student exploitation claims. ABC News 4. February 4, 2021.

Catherine Kohn and Kenna Coe. $300 million lawsuit filed against Bishop England High School. Moultrie News. February 4, 2021.

 

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

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: clayj@datasource.com / Website: www.datasourcecorp.com

ProtectYouthSports.com

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 www.protectyouthsports.com 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 youthsports@ncys.org. Contact the trained staff of the National Center for Safety Initiatives toll free at 866-833-7100 or by email at  info@ncsisafe.com.

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 inform@bradley-personnel.com

Intellicorp

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:

http://www.intellicorp.net/marketing/RegisterNow.aspx

 

JDP

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: https://www.jdp.com/industries/youth-sports-background-checks/

 

 

 

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.