Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Summit to Help Organizations Prevent Abuse in Youth Sports
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation at a two-day summit March 19-20. Titled "Safe to Compete: Protecting Child Athletes from Sexual Abuse," the event will be held at the center’s Alexandria, Va., offices and be streamed live.
The Jerry Sandusky scandal has prompted countless youth sports organizations to evaluate and, in many cases, tighten their policies regarding suspected child abuse. Now, representatives from more than 50 national groups — including Special Olympics, USA Swimming, US Soccer, the YMCA, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America — along with child-abuse experts, coaches and youth-service workers will join the |
"There were some hard lessons learned as a result of the Sandusky case," John Ryan, CEO of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, told the media at a pre-summit teleconference on Tuesday.
"The unspoken truth is that most organizations serving kids do the bare minimum to protect them," Steve Salem, president of The Ripken Foundation, told CBSSports.com. "Too many Jerry Sanduskys are out there looking for these opportunities. The Penn State tragedy is only unique in its high profile."
Sandusky, a former assistant football coach at Penn State , was convicted of 45 counts of child abuse in June and is serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence.
Ryan told The Baltimore Sun earlier this week that there's no data tracking the scope of child sexual abuse as it relates to sports. But the center's tip line has received approximately 1.8 million reports of children being exploited since 1998.
The summit will be live-streamed at safetocompete.org, and questions will be accepted via Facebook and Twitter. Meanwhile, a FAQ about child sexual abuse in sports can be found here. Among the 22 summit speakers will be both Cal Ripkens; John Walsh, co-founder of the center and host of America's Most Wanted; Michael Heimbach, vice president of ESPN Global Security and Safety; and, yes, even a Penn State representative: Katherine Staley, a research scientist at PSU's Justice Center for Research, which hosted a child sexual abuse conference on campus in October.