LIVE VIDEO: WUSA 9 at Noon    Watch
 

Protecting Children From Sex Abuse By Coaches

4:45 PM, Mar 19, 2013   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WUSA9) -- Katherine Starr was an Olympic swimmer who was sexually abused by her coach starting at the age of 14. 

Out of 20 elite swimmers during her time, she says four were sexually abused by their youth coaches.   

Her story is one of many in a shameful history that reached a boiling point with Penn State's Jerry Sandusky, convicted of sexually abusing children in the so-called charity organization 'The Second Mile' foundation he created.  

Part of the shame comes from that fact that people who knew looked the other way.  Crime Fighter John Walsh says that needs to change. 


"Look what happened with Sandusky.  Here's a 60 year old man, 6'3", sodomizing a 10-year-boy in a locker room at 10:30 at night and the University doesn't do anything about it when a coach reports it.  They decide, 'Let's not tell the campus police,'" said Walsh, whose son Adam was kidnapped and murdered in 1981.

He added, "We've got to get over this culture of, "It doesn't involve me, I'm not going to say anything, I'm going let it happen, I'm going to hope it goes away, there's too much money involved.  All of that is  B-S. Those are all excuses,"  

He says all youth organizations need to have mandatory background checks for starters. Walsh  is a guest speaker at The Safe To Compete Summit, hosted by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Alexandria and the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation. 

"After the events of Penn State, our foundation realized that as we grew, that those interacting with children were the right people," said Ripken. 

The Center's CEO John Ryan says  65 percent of predators who sexually abuse children are in positions of trust.  They are often family members, neighbors, clergy or coaches and thought to be outstanding members of the community.

"Youth centered organizations are a popular hunting ground for people who want to abuse children, especially those who have their guard down," said Ryan.  

He said the summit will put together a check list of sound policies to help youth organizations everywhere keep kids safe.


Most Watched Videos