Sexual abuse involving youth baseball

The shame, embarrassment, and trauma of sexual abuse leads many victims to repress or block out the heinous crimes from their memory. It is for that reason that sexual abuse in youth baseball and all youth sports is under-reported. However, when cases of sexual abuse in youth baseball make headlines, it is another reminder that sexual abuse in youth sports is real and that sports organizations must do more to protect young athletes from predatory coaches.

Examples of coaches using trusted relationships to sexually abuse athletes

In Pomona, California, a little league coach, Carlton Murray Harris Jr., was charged with committing lewd acts against a child under 14 and continuous sexual acts, plus committing lewd acts with children 14 to 15 years old. Harris sexually abused the three players at his home between 2014 and 2017. 

One Michigan youth baseball coach, Joseph Frappier, was charged with 10 counts of various degrees of criminal sexual conduct and furnishing alcohol to a minor after he sexually assaulted two boys multiple times between 2015 and 2019. Frappier was the boys’ youth baseball coach and, through that trusted relationship, was able to abuse the victims. He pled guilty to two of the charges. 

In Pittsfield, Massachusetts, a former boys baseball coach, Scott Nimons, was charged for sending sexually explicit nude photos of himself to two female high school students. One female student notified authorities, and another victim came forward to report a similar experience with the coach. The coach promised her marijuana and alcohol in exchange if she sent him nude pictures. Berkshire District Attorney, Andrea Harrington, said, “We see these types of allegations far too often, and [it] is very important for young women to have the courage to come forward knowing that there are trusted adults who will support them.” 

It takes more than courage to report sexual abuse in youth sports

While both parents and young athletes need to be more vigilant in reporting inappropriate sexual misconduct, it is ultimately up to the youth-serving sports organizations to better protect young athletes.

Effective child protection policies start with comprehensive background checks, supervision of newly hired coaches, and educating parents, athletes, and anyone who has access to kids about identifying inappropriate behavior that leads to sexual abuse. Coaches very rarely, if ever, sexually abuse an athlete on day one. They engage in what is called a “grooming process,” which results in the coach or predator gaining the confidence of the athlete and/or the parents and sports community.

Recognizing behavior violations on day one will stop much of the sexual abuse in youth baseball and sports, but only if behavior violations are dealt with quickly and with consequences. When sports organizations fail to protect youth baseball players, our award-winning sexual abuse attorneys have stepped in to hold them accountable and to ensure that sexually abused athletes are compensated for the lifelong harm that was caused.

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