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

  • November 08 A Texas-based company was found to be supplying landlords with inaccurate background check results, potentially affecting housing decisions. The company must pay a record-setting settlement.
  • November 07 Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt brand trusts backgroundchecks.com to perform the crucial function of background checks on job candidates before extending offers of employment.
  • November 06 The man previously responsible for running background checks on New York City’s school bus drivers says the city’s Department of Education has been pushing back against more thorough checks. The DOE reportedly circumnavigated proper bus driver vetting channels for most of the spring and summer this year.
  • November 06 If you have a series of speeding tickets or other traffic violations, do you need to disclose them as criminal history?
  • November 01 South Carolina's legislature recently adopted a measure to expand access to expungement opportunities for the state's ex-convicts, but other gaps in the process remain. Advocates disagree on how to address the problem to protect offenders as well as the public.
  • October 31 Background checks will show different things depending on the type of check. Here are a few ways employers can use background checks to learn about candidates.
  • October 30 The Pentagon recently disclosed a breach that exposed the personal information of roughly 30,000 personnel. The government blamed the breach on a contractor, calling into question background check policies for federal government vendors.
  • October 30 Just because a record has been expunged from the record or sealed from public view doesn’t mean all traces of it are gone. Expunged and sealed records can sometimes show up on criminal background checks.
  • October 29 What is the status of your driver’s license? Not only can driver’s license statuses impact your ability to drive legally, but they can also impact your auto insurance coverage.
  • October 26 As fresh details emerge in the long-running sex abuse scandal plaguing the Catholic Church, some efforts to mitigate risks and protect the vulnerable stand out from the rest, including those in the diocese of Austin, Texas.