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Background Check Double Check

Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is taken from the Centre County Courthouse after being sentenced in Bellefonte, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. Sandusky was sentenced to at least 30 years in prison, effectively a life sentence, in the child sexual abuse scandal that brought shame to Penn State and led to coach Joe Paterno's downfall. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is taken from the Centre County Courthouse after being sentenced in Bellefonte, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. Sandusky was sentenced to at least 30 years in prison, effectively a life sentence, in the child sexual abuse scandal that brought shame to Penn State and led to coach Joe Paterno’s downfall. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

When talking to a potential organization about using Trusted Coaches, we often hear something like, “We know our coaches – they are our neighbors, our friends, our kids play with their kids. We live in a small, tight-knit community and everyone knows everyone else’s business.”  So you think you really know them, huh?  According to this article, over 90% of child sexual assault cases occur by someone the victim knows:  http://www.childabuse.org/facts

Time to do a background check double check.  

What can your organization do?  Well, stop running local, free background checks to start. As I often say, things are free for a reason – because they have little or no value. If they are local, how do you know if someone committed a crime while they were on vacation, lived somewhere else, or even spent time in prison out of state? Trusted Coaches performs all of our National Criminal Background Checks in-house. We have undergone extensive training, and know what to look for. To date, we have denied several coaches membership into the Trusted Coaches program and have made the supervising Youth Sports Organizations aware of the criminal activities of their potential coaches before they were allowed to coach. We have notified the YSOs they have applied to volunteer with, and effectively stopped them from working with kids. These potential coaches violated our background check policies, and the crimes were severe enough to warrant exclusion from the Trusted Coaches program. Some common statements we heard from some of the organization throughout the process were:

  • We know this person, they have coached for us in the past, but we never knew about their criminal history.
  • We ran background checks on them in the past and they never picked up on this.
  • This information is new to us.
  • We thought the process we were using was good enough, but obviously we had no idea that we were missing so much information that would change how we felt about a certain coach being with our kids.

So, you think you know who your coach, neighbor, friend is? So did the people who trusted in Jerry Sandusky.