Blog

 
     

Lax Background Check Policies Lead to Legal Troubles for U.S. Youth Soccer Organization

By Michael Klazema on 5/3/2018

Youth sports enjoy broad popularity, with millions of players signing up to take part in baseball, soccer, and other popular leagues each year. While the goal of these activities is to foster a healthy lifestyle in a fun environment, special care must be taken when choosing the adults who will serve as mentors and coaches. The failure of one major US organizing body to complete such due diligence is now at the heart of a series of civil legal actions, and similar stories are not an uncommon occurrence nationwide.

The United States Youth Soccer Association counts three million young people as players in leagues under its authority and employs nearly one million adults in authority positions. Despite these huge numbers, the USYSA never took steps to codify a mandatory background check policy at an individual league level or at the national level. Even though the USYSA polled its members in 2005 on instituting background checks for staff who work closely with children, the organization never implemented a standard policy.

As a direct result, players were harmed. At issue in the courts are the actions of coach Emanuele Fabrizio in a USYSA-sanctioned league. Fabrizio was charged with sexually abusing a teenaged player for nearly two years during her time playing soccer under his tutelage. For his crimes, Fabrizio received a 15-year prison sentence in 2012. Since that time, the girl — identified only as Jane Doe to protect her identity — has undertaken several civil suits to hold responsible those whose policies allowed Fabrizio an inroad.

According to the Orange County Register, when Fabrizio applied in 2010, applications for the league required individuals to voluntarily disclose information about their criminal histories. Fabrizio answered that he had no criminal past. In truth, he had been convicted of domestic violence a few years prior. Even a basic background check, such as a statewide criminal history search from backgroundchecks.com, would have detected this conviction, which would potentially have served as grounds for disqualification. Because there was no policy in place, Jane Doe alleges the sanctioning bodies were negligent. One of the organizations involved settled for nearly $2 million but the case against USYSA continues.

Per reports, this is not an isolated case. In Florida, a youth soccer coach recently received a 20-year prison sentence on charges of molestation. He faces criminal charges outside of Florida as well; authorities allege the man sexually abused young boys under his supervision in Texas and potentially in North Carolina. A nationwide background check or a check of state sex offender registries through backgroundchecks.com could help to turn up important red flags.

An individual's interest in coaching is no guarantee of pure intentions and a desire to help others. According to the York Dispatch in Pennsylvania, a soccer coach embezzled nearly $9,000 from the families of players who believed they were paying him for game-related fees. 

From tragic stories of sexual abuse to financial crimes, these stories showcase the need for stronger vetting procedures and thorough background checks in the arena of youth sports. With services such as reference checks and employment history verification in addition to criminal history reports, backgroundchecks.com can equip organizations with all the facts necessary for making better employment decisions.

Industry News

Tag Cloud
Categories
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • February 18

    Many hiring decisions are based mostly on candidates’ past work experiences. Here’s how a background check can verify employers to make sure those hiring decisions are grounded in fact.


  • February 14 As more states legalize various forms of marijuana, past marijuana convictions are still causing concern while uncertainty over substances such as CBD drives new arrests. 
  • February 12 A new bill in the New York State legislature could add new requirements for school employee background checks. Currently, private schools are not required to follow state mandates regarding background checks.
  • February 07 Some parents in El Paso, Texas have been left wondering about the strength of their city's youth sports procedures after a felon fraudulently took funds for a girls' soccer team.
  • February 06 If there is one way that volunteer organizations could serve their communities better, it’s implementing more thorough volunteer screening policies.
  • February 05 Madison County, Illinois has created a new initiative designed to help individuals overcome barriers to employment. Clients of the initiative will be able to explore criminal record expungement among other options.
  • February 01 An OfficeTeam survey found that the two most common forms of resume dishonesty had to do with past employers: job experience and job duties or responsibilities.
  • January 31 During the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, hundreds of thousands of federal employees have gone without work for more than a month. Some are finding temporary alternatives elsewhere.
  • January 29 A Florida nurse has been arrested for allegedly stealing two types of prescription pain medications from the county jail where she worked. The case highlights the importance of rigorous drug testing procedures for employment situations in which employees have access to prescription drugs.
  • January 24 After the airline failed to adequately disclose to applicants that they would undergo a background check, a court has ruled Delta did not meet its legislative obligations. The settlement highlights the importance of rigorous compliance.