Youth Soccer Sex Abuse Settlement Promises to Make the Sport Safer for Children

Two youth soccer organizations, with a major presence in the San Francisco Bay Area, are conducting background checks on coaches. This follows a record-setting $8.2 million settlement for a young girl sexually molested by her youth soccer league coach.

“This is why we represent child sex abuse victims,” said Attorney Robert Allard. “The money will provide the young victim with the means to survive the lifelong effects of childhood sexual abuse while at the same time forcing youth sports organizations to protect kids better,” added Allard.

In May of 2011, West Valley Youth Soccer League coach Emanuele Fabrizio sexually abused a 12-year-old player. After pleading no contest to the sexual abuse charges, Fabrizio is serving 15 years in prison.

During that time period, US Youth Soccer Organization (USYSA) and its affiliate California Youth Soccer Association North (Cal North), did not conduct or require criminal background checks on their coaches. Instead, they had a self-reporting policy. Had they conducted a background check on Fabrizio, they would have discovered a prior domestic violence charge. According to their policy, that would have prevented Fabrizio from coaching.

The legal team included Kelly Raftery, Andrew Piunti and Lauren Cerri of San Jose along with Stephen Estey of San Diego.

Background Checks for Coaches

Raftery is credited with creating case law that establishes a minimum level of protection for kids. This sex abuse case went before the California Sixth District Court of Appeal. The court said that it was foreseeable that a coach would sexually abuse a player. As a result, USYSA had a duty to require and conduct background checks.

Background checks are provided free of charge to non-profit organizations under state law.

Coaching sexual abuse continues to be a significant problem in this country. Whether it is youth soccer organizations or the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and its lack of oversight of the national governing bodies that are responsible for selecting our Olympic team, only litigation seems to have an effect on how serious they go about protecting athletes from coaching sexual abuse.

If you are an adult survivor of coaching sexual abuse or the loved one of a young child sexually abused by their coach, call our law firm at 408-289-1417. Our dedicated team of attorneys and investigators specialize in childhood sexual abuse cases. This commitment to justice for sex abuse victims sets us apart from other law firms. The consultation and case evaluation are free by calling Cerri, Boskovich & Allard at 408-289-1417.


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