Youth Basketball Coaches Abusing Athletes

Youth basketball coaches continue to sexually abuse young athletes. It is sad and scary to know that predators are in coaching positions and have easy access to young, potential victims. It is no coincidence that predators go to where the children are. They are always able to find victims at schools, churches, organized sports or other activities where children are present.

In a case involving a former Valley Christian High School basketball coach, Greg Marshall, in San Jose, California, at least two female victims reported ongoing grooming behaviors and sexual abuse while they were coached by Marshall. The two of them appeared at a press conference with Attorney Robert Allard to share their sexual abuse experiences. The school is being sued since they failed to act on complaints and enabled his behavior.

Another recent case in Minneapolis, Minnesota, involved former basketball coach Aaron Hjermstad, charged with several criminal sexual conduct counts. His victims were all preteen basketball players he had coached at a youth development center. Hjermstad was also surrounded by young children since he worked as a physical education teacher for a charter K-6 school.

In Iowa, an ex-AAU coach, Greg Stephan, was sentenced to 180 years in prison after using his position as coach to prey upon his high school players to molest a dozen of them and secretly obtain sexually explicit photographs of 440 boys. The players were duped into trusting him since many saw him as a coach who could play college basketball. U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams said the harm to the victims, as well as their parents and the community, was “incalculable and profound.”

Protect your legal rights. The law is on your side.

Recent laws in some states, like New York’s Child Victims Act and California’s AB 218, have allowed victims the time to come forward and get compensated for past criminal acts of sexual abuse. With a lengthened statute of limitations available, reports of coaches sexually abusing young sports athletes are numerous.

From the current cases that have been filed, a third of the young victims were basketball players. At the time of the abuse, which could have stretched back decades, victims were afraid to come forward for fear of jeopardizing their sports opportunities. Coaches took advantage of young athletes, and abuse happened subtly through “private training sessions,” body conditioning massages, visit to the coaches’ home or hotel rooms, private areas, or some other excuse to inappropriately touch a child’s body. Tragically, victims have experienced the same emotional trauma, shame, and embarrassment which impacted their adult lives.

It is not too late to protect your legal rights and speak with an experienced sexual abuse attorney. All communication is 100% confidential.  

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