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Sports are an important part of child development. When participating in organized athletics, children and young adults develop self-confidence, forge cooperative relationships, and engage in healthy physical activity. Parents anticipate that their children’s coaches will provide guidance and counsel to their young athletes. Tragically, some coaches abuse their position of trust and power, engaging in inappropriate and abusive sexual misconduct with those children in their charge.
When a young athlete is subjected to sexual abuse, the negative impacts last a lifetime. Unfortunately, sexual abuse by coaches exists on all levels of sports, including neighborhood sports teams and high school teams. Even collegiate athletes are often victims of sexual abuse. If you believe your child is being abused or if you are a victim, contact our attorney for victims of sexual abuse by a coach in California. Predators could be held both criminally and civilly liable for their conduct. Call The Law Office of Andrew Shubin at (814) 826-3586 to schedule a confidential and free appointment.
Reasons Why Sexual Abuse by Coaches in California Goes Unreported
Sexual abuse of any nature is horrifying. When the predator is a trusted coach, it almost seems impossible. However, these incidents do occur in California and, unfortunately, many go unreported or unprosecuted.
Victims are Often Ashamed or Feel Guilty
Most student-athletes have spent the better part of their developmental years taking orders and advice from their coaches. A coach comes to represent both authority and knowledge. A young athlete is taught that their team is family and what hurts the team harms everyone. This relationship makes young athletes especially vulnerable to sexual abuse. Some survivors do not disclose that they are victims of abuse because they are ashamed of their perceived role and do not want to hurt their teammates, the organization, or the school. Because of this silence, many never seek the justice and compensation they deserve.
Protection by Organizations, Institutions, and Schools
The organizations that run and administer sports leagues do not always want the unwanted attention and potential liability associated with a sexual abuse scandal. There are situations where a coach who was accused of sexual misconduct could be allowed to retire quietly. In other instances, a school could ignore or not thoroughly investigate accusations of abuse. Some coaches transfer to different programs to protect a school or institution’s reputation.
Young Athletes Do Not Understand Their Legal Rights
Unfortunately, because of the relationship between the coach and a young athlete, many victims do not fully understand their rights. This is especially the case when allegations of sexual abuse are investigated by other coaches or individuals connected with the program, institution, or school. When a California coach sexually abuses an athlete, the victim often does not know where to turn. It is crucial to speak with our experienced California sexual abuse lawyer if you or your child were the victim of sexual misconduct by a coach.
Who is Liable When a Youth Athlete is a Victim of Sexual Abuse by a Coach in California?
When a coach abuses their position of trust, they should be held liable for their behavior. However, in many cases where a young athlete is sexually abused, the perpetrator is not the only responsible party. It is often possible to hold a school or institution accountable for its employees’ conduct, especially when there is a responsibility to safeguard the well-being of youth athletes.
Schools should thoroughly investigate allegations of sexual misconduct, conduct thorough background checks, and institute various protocols to handle reports of abuse. When a school or institution fails to take the due diligence necessary to protect young athletes, it should also be held liable for the abuse that occurred.
When a school or institution actively works to protect its reputation by concealing knowledge of evidence of sexual abuse, the conduct is both criminal and unconscionable. A skilled California sexual abuse attorney will vigorously work to hold every responsible party accountable for the suffering a survivor of sexual abuse endured.
California’s Safe Sport Act to Protect Young Athletes From Sexual Abuse by Coaches
California’s Safe Sport Act, or the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act, was enacted in 2018 and is intended to make sports safer for young athletes. The law requires amateur sports organizations, such as schools, legally required to report allegations of abuse and implement safeguards for all participating athletes.
Under California law, youth sports organizations are required to report any claim of abuse to law enforcement within twenty-four hours of the allegation. Schools, organizations, or institutions are no longer able to simply conduct internal investigations of allegations of abuse. Under the Act, if an individual is found to have committed an act of sexual abuse in a civil court, they will be required to compensate the victim at least $150,000. It is essential to speak with our California sexual abuse attorney if you believe a coach is sexually abusing your child.
Our Compassionate Attorney for Victims of Sexual Abuse by a Coach in California is Available for Free Consultations
Sexual abuse by a trusted athletic coach is traumatic and destructive. Its negative impacts often last for years or decades and affect the victims, their families, and friends. If you or your child are a survivor of sexual misconduct, contact our attorney for victims of sexual abuse by a coach in California. The staff and attorneys at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin have years of experience representing young athletes who have suffered at the hands of their coaches. Call (814) 826-3586 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.