ShareThis Page
Little League to check all volunteers against sex offender lists |

Little League to check all volunteers against sex offender lists

The Associated Press
| Wednesday, October 9, 2002 12:00 a.m

STATE COLLEGE: Little League Baseball will require all managers, coaches and volunteers to be checked against their state’s list of convicted sex offenders.

Little League officials said their group is the first national youth sports organization to have such a requirement.

“We want to let anyone who would prey upon kids in the Little League program know that they’re not welcome and we’re going to do what we can to keep them out,” said Stephen D. Keener, president of Little League Baseball Inc.

Little League has recommended that local leagues do background checks on volunteers since 1996, when USA Baseball suggested that all youth baseball organizations adopt such voluntary policies.

“We certainly commend Little League for taking this step — it’s a giant step, and long overdue. The problem is, of course, that it’s a real dilemma because in many cases organizations do not have the funds to mandate this,” said Lolly Keys, spokeswoman for the California-based American Youth Soccer Organization, which conducts random background checks on volunteers.

“At this point, we need help from the national government,” Keys said. “We need access to a national criminal database at a reasonable amount, and that can be done in a timely fashion.”

Keener, too, called for a national database that could facilitate such searches, saying the National Child Protection Improvement Act, introduced last December by Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., would provide such access.

Since 1988, nine Little League volunteers are known to have sexually abused children. But Keener said no single incident led to the change in policy — rather, the high-profile sex-abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church and the ready availability of sex-offender registries convinced Little League that such checks should be made mandatory.

“The fact that the Catholic Church has been through what the Catholic Church has been through has certainly increased the public awareness and attention, as well,” Keener said. “When you combine all of those factors, we felt this was the right time to do this.”

In 43 states and the District of Columbia, that information already can be obtained free over the Internet or from local law enforcement agencies. Local Little Leagues would be responsible for the fees for criminal background checks in the seven remaining states — Connecticut, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania and South Dakota.

Categories: News
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.