Participation in sporting activities as a child is often touted as a constructive, enjoyable and socializing venture—and thus is often encouraged by parents nationwide. While a parent aspires for their child to have a positive and rewarding experience through sports, a recent wave of sexual assault reports alleging abuse by adults during sports-related activities has caused increasing concern.
Sports-related sexual abuse does not discriminate; adult abusers can target males and/or females of any age in either the private or public sectors of recreational and competitive sports. The abuse can occur “on-site” (e.g. the school the child attends) or “off-site” (e.g. a training facility or independently sponsored sports program).
The sexual abuse within this context often takes the form of direct sexual contact (e.g. groping, fondling or penetration), though there are reports of improper conduct that is non-physical in nature (e.g. the use of inappropriately sexual language, coercion to perform sexual acts, the provision of pornographic images and indecent exposure). The abuser can take many forms, but common positions of power that have been reported to engage in such abuse include:
- Team medical staff
- Gym facility supervisors and owners
The influence, trust, and authority that is often bestowed upon the abuser due to their official capacity only heightens the complexity of the issue—and a victim’s potential reluctance to report the abuse. Further compounding the pervasiveness of the problem is the fact that parents, at least initially, also assign the same attributes to the abuser.
Slater Slater Schulman LLP is dedicated to the confidential representation of individuals sexually abused children while participating in sports-related activities. If you or someone you love has suffered this form of abuse and wishes to file a claim, please contact Slater Slater Schulman LLP for a free, confidential consultation by filling out the form on this page or by calling our office at (800) 251-6990.