In Florida, children engage in sports activities every day. There are thousands of dedicated coaches and volunteers in youth sports in Florida. These coaches provide hours of instruction, coaching, and mentoring to children every week. The majority of coaches are caring individuals who have the child’s best interest in mind. There are some coaches out there who prey on children or otherwise ignore the needs and best interests of children. In some cases, the child suffers serious personal injuries as well as psychological injuries when a coach fails to provide adequate supervision or when the coach himself or herself actually preys on the child and engaging in illegal and inappropriate sexual molestation and assault of the child.
In Osceola County, Florida, a martial arts instructor (John Durinick) is accused of molesting / assaulting / raping a former student. Mr. Durinick was arrested on charges involving a 14 year old girl. The allegations are that Durinick attacked the girl at the John Emmons Tae Kwon Do Martial Arts Studio in 2008. This case is interesting in that the accusations are against a person trained and skilled in subduing another person. Mr. Durinick will be entitled to defend himself against these criminal accusations by a Florida criminal defense lawyer / attorney. Prosecutors and the public defender / private criminal defense counsel will argue over the testimony and evidence presented on this matter. See Former Osceola martial-arts instructor accused of raping 14-year-old girl.
While background checks would not prevent every incidents from happening, background checks are a valuable action to take to insure that those with a known criminal history are kept away from children. It is also important for parents to attend all practices and games / matches of their children. Of course, this is not practical for every parent or every practice; however, active parent participation can help prevent incidents from taking place.
Coaches have a duty to protect and mentor children. Government entities, sports organizations, and businesses engaged in youth sporting activities have a duty to hire competent coaches and properly supervise the coaches. Competition is great and playing a sport can be great fun. All parents and coaches should keep in mind that safety is the most important part of youth sports.