Background Check Backlog Resulted in Offender Coaching Youth Football

By Michael Klazema on 9/24/2013
A recent news item from San Antonio, Texas highlights the fact that having a background check policy in place offers little protection if that policy is not actually implemented in a timely manner.

Danny Amezquita had been volunteering as a coach for his son’s youth football team for a while before other parents started to raise questions about his criminal background. At their insistence, Texas Youth Football Association officials pushed Amezquita’s background check to the top of their backlog and finally processed it.

The background check revealed that Amezquita had pled guilty to a charge of indecency with a child by sexual contact. Amezquita said that after initially fighting the charge, he decided to take a plea deal in order to spare his family the trauma of a trial. As part of the plea deal, Amezquita does not have to register as an offender, but he does have to report to a probation officer belonging to the unit that handles the county’s offender cases. Assuming Amezquita does not violate any of the terms of his probation, it will end in July of 2014.

While some might try to console themselves with the fact that Amezquita may not even have committed the crime he pled guilty to, this is no excuse for the league’s delay in running the required background checks. Until a background check is completed, there is no way to know whether or not a given individual has a criminal past that could potentially make them dangerous. Allowing anyone to volunteer with kids without a background check is a risk.

Had the league used an instant background check product like US OneSEARCH from to run their volunteer background checks, there would have been no backlog and hence no risk of kids unknowingly associating with individuals with criminal records. A check through US OneSEARCH is easy to order and requires just a few clicks to initiate. It compares a name and date of birth against a collection of over 450 million public criminal records taken from state and local databases across the country, and returns a result almost instantly. Of course, league officials would still have had to review the background check reports, but they still would have shaved a lot of time off of the process by using US OneSEARCH.

After learning of Amezquita’s criminal background, the Texas Youth Football Association immediately banned Amezquita from volunteering with his son’s football team, the Panthers, or with any other team in the league.

At least one volunteer associated with the Panthers at first seemed reluctant to accept the ban. Manuel Ortiz, the Panthers’ president, initially said Amezquita could still be an adviser to the team. However, other volunteers quickly overrode this comment and assured parents that Amezquita would not be associated with the team in any capacity.


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