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SOUTH JEFFCO SPORTS ASSOCIATION

 

POLICY ON VOLUNTEER

BACKGROUND CHECKS

 

Policy for Criminal Background Checks of Adult Volunteers
for South Jeffco Sports Association


Background

Fact: Norman Watson, a Little League coach in San Bernardino, California was sentenced to 84 years in prison after pleading guilty to 39 counts of lewd acts with five children that occurred during the 1990’s.  But, this didn’t have to happen:  Unknown to the parents or league – which did not conduct a proper background check on the coach – Watson was serving probation during his time as a coach for a 1980 molestation offense, and had also previously undergone treatment in two state mental health facilities for child molestation.

 

Fact: Right in our own backyard. In 2000, in Greeley, Colorado, 51 year old soccer coach Bert Smice was sentenced to 17 years to life after pleading guilty to committing sex crimes against four teenage girls.  He lured the girls to his apartment, took sexually explicit photographs of them in various states of undress, and had sex with one of them. This incident surprised many in the community, as he was a long time coach and was well-known to all.  At the time, Greeley did not have any background check program in place, but according to Parks & Rec supervisor, Kevin Royal, “we do now.”

 

(Cite: the above cases summaries were presented by the National Alliance for Youth Sports study entitled, “Background Checks In Youth Sports: Guidelines For Your Organization”)

 

Fact:  Right here in South Jeffco, we uncovered an applicant who was an employee of a neighboring county’s school system who had 3 separate charges for improper sexual conduct with minors, luring, and charges stemming from his being an individual in a position of trust.  When contacted, his only defense was that, “those cases are supposed to be sealed”, and he withdrew his application.

South Jeffco Sports Association (“SJSA”) and the members of the various sports, teams and organizations which participate in SJSA activities have, as our number one concern, a desire to protect the safety and welfare of children participating in our programs. Recognizing the nation-wide incidence of crimes against children requires pro-active steps to provide protection to children participating in our activities.  SJSA requires that all adults, 18 years or older, who volunteers with any SJSA team or group of players will be required to verify to SJSA that a criminal background verification has been performed in accordance with this policy.

 

Resources Considered

In compiling this policy, criminal background check policies from numerous youth sports organizations from across the nation were reviewed, compared and contrasted.  A few of the sources included:

·         SportsSignup KidSafePlus Registration materials

·         National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS)

·         www.ProtectYouthSports.com

·         Kids Sports Network

·         www.athleticbusiness.com

·         www.uslacrosse.com

·         www.safesportsusa.com

·         www.youthsportsny.org

·         www.ncsisafe.com (National Council for Safety Initiatives)

·         National Council for Youth Sports

·         Numerous state and local youth sports organizations

·         Child Protection Improvements Act of 2009

·         www.prevent-abuse-now.com

·         1993 National Child Protection Act

·         1998 Volunteers for Children Act

·         “The Season of Hope: A Risk Management Guide for Youth-Serving Nonprofits”, Barbara B. Oliver & John C. Patterson, Nonprofit Risk Management Center, 2002

 
 


 

7 Steps to a Safe SJSA Experience
In order to screen all volunteers, coaches, and officials, SJSA verifies and implements the following 7 step process and procedures:

 

            Step 1: Obtain completed volunteer application

            Step 2: Obtain Consent/Release to conduct background investigation (may be a part of volunteer

application required by Step 1)

            Step 3: Conduct Criminal Background Check through third party source (i.e., KidSafe, etc.)

            Step 4: Conduct Sex Offender Registry Search (http://sor.state.co.us/?SOR=home.home)

            Step 5: Conduct Public Domain Media search (www.google.com)

            Step 6: Notify applicant of acceptance or disqualification; if disqualification, send FCRA

Compliance letter with enclosures

            Step 7: Listen.  Listen to parent complaints; listen to kids talking; listen to what the buzz is among

the community.  If anything just doesn’t seem right…investigate.

 

Criminal Background Checks
SJSA will conduct or require criminal background check procedures to all adults acting as coach, instructor, teacher, official, or manager.  Any person 18 years or older, who volunteers to coach, become a team manager, or in any way has direct instructional, participatory, on-court or on-field contact with any SJSA team or players for a cumulative period of 60 minutes or more per month shall, for purposes of this Policy, be deemed to be a coach and subject to this Policy.


1. Upon initial application to volunteer, and every twelve (12) to twenty four (24) months thereafter should the volunteer wish to continue volunteering, all volunteers and/or paid employees of SJSA for positions of coach, assistant coach, manager, game official (umpire, referee, linesman, etc.), association board of director member or other persons acting in an official capacity of SJSA must have and pass a criminal background check.


2. Criminal background checks must be performed prior to having any direct contact with SJSA players or teams, and prior to the volunteer being assigned any duties or responsibilities at any SJSA in accordance with the provisions herein.

 
3. Game officials used which are not affiliated with SJSA are not subject to the SJSA s criminal background check standards.


Grounds for Disqualification
An individual convicted of the criminal offense provided herein shall be automatically disqualified and an application to volunteer within SJSA shall be denied for the purpose of this Policy, notwithstanding the fact that the following may have occurred, until and unless the final resolution and outcome would warrant another decision based on clear and unique facts indicating there was no truth whatsoever that the applicant was involved in any way with the charges.  Note that SJSA is seeking to protect the most vulnerable group of people within our community – our kids.  As such, our standard of review of these matters is much higher than a court of law finding an individual guilty or not guilty by the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard.  If there is reason to believe an applicant to volunteer has had involvement in any of the criminal acts mentioned below, SJSA has an obligation to first disqualify the applicant from working with the children of our community, before considering any mitigating or other extenuating circumstances or evidence presented.


1. criminal charges which were subsequently dropped and the applicant was never prosecuted for the
crime; or


2. the criminal charges resulted in a non-conviction, such as probation or deferred adjudication,
deferred disposition; or


3. the criminal conviction was subsequently expunged from the applicant s record as the result
of appropriate legal proceedings.

 


List of Automatic Disqualifying Conduct
The following is a list of conduct, any of which are automatic grounds for disqualifying a volunteer from being affiliated with SJSA:

·         ANY crimes against children (including but not limited to abandonment, abuse, endangerment, indecency, neglect, sexual assault, pornography, possession or promotion of pornography, enticement, solicitation, indecency)

·         ANY crimes involving children as an accomplice

·         Any crimes resulting from the applicant being in a Position of Trust

 

Any crimes involving any of the following:

·         Animal Cruelty

·         Arson

·         Criminally negligent homicide

·         Felony drug crimes

·         Financial crimes (theft, embezzlement, absconding, etc., would automatically disqualify an individual from any board role, or any role involving the handling of finances or money)

·         Fraud

·         Indecent exposure

·         Injury to elderly or disabled

·         Kidnapping

·         Manslaughter (involuntary or voluntary; including while intoxicated or under the influence)

·         Murder

·         Multiple DUI/DWI/Domestic Violence offenses (more than 1 in past 10 years)

·         Obscenity

·         Prohibited sexual conduct

·         Public lewdness

·         Rape

·         Robbery

·         Sexual abuse

·         Sexual assault

·         Weapons violations

 

Further, while the state of Colorado currently has a form of legalized marijuana possession, use, cultivation, and distribution, it is the opinion of the SJSA Board that while such conduct may not be deemed illegal, it is conduct which would preclude qualifying an individual from volunteering to work directly with the children of SJSA, even if the applicant holds a legally issued license to possess, use, cultivate or distribute marijuana.

 

This list of conduct is not intended to be all-inclusive and in no way sets limits on the conduct
deemed grounds for disqualifying an individual from affiliation with SJSA.  Decisions on all other conduct, crimes or offenses not otherwise described above will be made at the sole, exclusive, and unappealable discretion of SJSA.  Further, the names used to describe the crimes above are merely descriptive in nature and are not meant to be the exact name or terminology of such crimes within the Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 18 (“Criminal Code”).

 

 

 

Other grounds for Disqualifying an Applicant

In addition to the criminal offenses above, an applicant shall be automatically disqualified as a volunteer for the following:

 

·         providing false or intentionally misleading information to SJSA on any form, application, questionnaire or other document submitted in support of an applicant’s offer to volunteer

·         failure to provide SJSA with any additional statements or documentation reasonably requested to explain or clarify any issues surrounding the applicant’s application, background check results, or fitness to volunteer

 

Potentially Disqualifying Offenses

The following is a list of offenses that could, within SJSA’s sole, exclusive, and unappealable discretion, be grounds to disqualify a volunteer from being affiliated with SJSA.  Factors SJSA may consider when evaluating these offenses include the severity and length of time passed since the offense occurred, recommendations by any officer of the Court or licensed therapist/counselor, conditions of any probation or other sentence, rehabilitative efforts exhibited over an extended period of time, and other such factors as SJSA may deem relevant.

 

·         A single Marijuana possession or delivery charge or conviction (Misdemeanor only; within last 10 years)

·         A single DWI, DUI (within last 10 years)

·         A single Domestic Violence charge or conviction (within last 10 years; SJSA should endeavor to obtain written recommendation from licensed therapist or court, and/or proof of completion of any counseling program)

·         A single Theft charge or conviction (Petty only; within last 10 years; would be automatic disqualifier for any board role, or any role involving the handling of finances or money)

 

Sex Offender Registry Search
As part of SJSA’s background investigation, it shall conduct a search of the applicant in the Colorado Sex Offender Registry.  Any individual who is registered in this directory shall be automatically disqualified from volunteering or assuming any role within SJSA.

 

Public Domain Media Search
As part of SJSA’s background investigation, it shall conduct a search of the applicant through a simple “google” or other internet search engine to ascertain whether there has been any news reports of significance which may shed light on the applicant’s fitness to volunteer and work with the children of SJSA.  If any potentially disqualifying information is obtained in this search, it is incumbent upon SJSA to investigate further by the most appropriate means.   An applicant’s application may be held in abeyance pending additional information as a result of this search, however, this search shall not, by itself, be grounds to disqualify the applicant.

 

Continuing Obligation to Report Offenses
If a volunteer is determined eligible to volunteer within SJSA and is later arrested or convicted of any of the above crimes, they are required to notify SJSA within 48 hours of such arrest or conviction, whichever shall first occur.  The volunteer may be removed immediately from their volunteer position until the case is finally adjudicated. Failure to notify SJSA of any arrests or convictions from the list above will result in the volunteer being immediately removed from all SJSA volunteer duties for a minimum twelve (12) months beginning on the date the failure to notify was discovered, regardless of the actual outcome of the proceedings if such shall occur prior to the expiration of the 12 month removal for failure to notify SJSA.

 


 

Administration
1.  Background check applications and the resulting reports shall remain on file with SJSA, in either paper or electronic form.  Only adults, who have had their background checks completed and approved before they were assigned duties or responsibilities, shall be deemed to be in compliance with this policy, and therefore eligible to volunteer.

2. SJSA shall be responsible for determining the method and manner of its compliance with this policy, and may utilize the services of third parties (i.e., KidSafe, LexisNexis, local law enforcement, etc.), as well as information found in the public domain (i.e., media reports, etc.).

 

3. SJSA shall be responsible for determination on the qualifications of its volunteers and compliance with this policy; however, the failure of any individual to comply with the process provided herein shall be deemed to be an act of noncompliance and grounds for denial.

 

4.  Persons applying to volunteer within SJSA are exactly that: making an offer to volunteer.  Of primary and utmost concern to SJSA is the safety, protection and wellbeing of the children participating in SJSA sports and activities.  SJSA reserves the right to decline any request(s) made to volunteer, for any reason whatsoever, including no reason whatsoever, even if the applying volunteer has otherwise successfully completed and passed the background checks covered by this Policy.

 

5.  If an applicant is disqualified to volunteer based upon a third party background check report (i.e., SportsSignup, KidSafe, Colorado Sex Offender Registry, etc.), and his/her application is denied, SJSA shall do the following:

 

            a.         Send the applicant a FCRA-compliant letter/email (sample contained herein)

b.         Include in the letter a copy of the FCRA guidelines and a printed copy of the background reporting information used to disqualify the applicant.

 

Once SJSA has accomplished this notice requirement, the process is out of SJSA’s hands and the burden shifts to the applicant to contact SportsSignup/KidSafePlus or the current third party background check company to dispute the information and provide SJSA information indicating the process should be re-run.  If a re-run is requested, the cost of such shall be borne by the applicant, and paid in advance to SJSA.

 

6.  If an applicant is initially disqualified to volunteer based upon information gathered which is in the public domain (i.e., media reports, etc.) SJSA shall do the following:

 

a.             Send the applicant a letter/email requesting additional information and any documents to

support his/her statements of explanation

 

Once SJSA has accomplished this notice requirement, the process is out of SJSA’s hands and the burden shifts to the applicant to dispute the information and provide SJSA sufficient to prove that the public domain information is false or the person alleged is not the same person as the applicant.  It is recommended that in evaluating these claims, SJSA convene a committee to review the information provided by the applicant, and that said committee includes members of law enforcement and the legal community.

 

Note:  This step might be considered by some reviewing this Policy as overly burdensome or unreliable.  This step was incorporated into this Policy based on an actual SJSA event where the applicant cleared the criminal background check, but his name “rang a bell” with a SJSA board member who was a member of local law enforcement.  A basic google search of the applicant’s name found he was an employee of a neighboring county’s school system who had 3 separate charges for improper sexual conduct with minors, and charges stemming from his being an individual in a position of trust.  When contacted, his only defense was that, “those cases are supposed to be sealed”, and he withdrew his application.

 

 

 7.  It is highly recommended that SJSA establish a formal committee to preview all applications, and that said committee includes members of law enforcement and the legal community.   It is recognized that there are literally hundreds of applications each season, and this may not always be feasible, but it is highly recommended that SJSA attempt to accomplish this objective.
 


 

 

SOUTH JEFFCO SPORTS ASSOCIATION

BACKGROUND CHECK PROCEDURES FLOWCHART

 

 
 


 

FCRA COMPLIANCE LETTER

The following form letter should be sent to disqualified applicants by SJSA, and can be set up to be sent automatically from the SportSignup/KidSafePlus system if an individual is disqualified based on information obtained from the background check.

South Jeffco Sports Association

6657 W. Ottawa #D2

Littleton, CO 80128

 

 

Dear ,

When you applied to volunteer with South Jeffco Sports Association, you consented to an independent investigation of your background including reviewing criminal records. South Jeffco Sports Association has contracted SportsSignup/ChoicePoint to perform the background check.

Based on information in that report, South Jeffco Sports Association has determined you would not be able to participate in the sports programs under South Jeffco Sports Association. Enclosed you will find a copy of the report and a copy of your rights under the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.

If you believe the attached information is incorrect, you can contact ChoicePoint's Consumer Disclosure Center at 1-800-845-6004, and they will investigate. In any case, please contact me to confirm your receipt of this notice.

Sincerely,

 

South Jeffco Sports Association

 

Enclosure: FCRA Disclosure

                  SportsSignup/ChoicePoint Records

 

 

 

 

 


 

Fair Credit Reporting Act

Must be enclosed with every disqualification letter

 

A Summary of Your Rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act

The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is designed to promote accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information in the files of every "consumer reporting agency" (CRA). Most CRAs are credit bureaus that gather and sell information about you -- such as if you pay your bills on time or have filed bankruptcy -- to creditors, employers, landlords, and other businesses. You can find the complete text of the FCRA, 15 U.S.C. 1681-1681u, at the Federal Trade Commission's web site (http://www.ftc.gov). The FCRA gives you specific rights, as outlined below. You may have additional rights under state law. You may contact a state or local consumer protection agency or a state attorney general to learn those rights.

 

You must be told if information in your file has been used against you. Anyone who uses information from a CRA to take action against you -- such as denying an application for credit, insurance, or employment -- must tell you, and give you the name, address, and phone number of the CRA that provided the consumer report.

 

You can find out what is in your file. At your request, a CRA must give you the information in your file, and a list of everyone who has requested it recently. There is no charge for the report if a person has taken action against you because of information supplied by the CRA, if you request the report within 60 days of receiving notice of the action. You also are entitled to one free report every twelve months upon request if you certify that (1) you are unemployed and plan to seek employment within 60 days, (2) you are on welfare, or (3) your report is inaccurate due to fraud. Otherwise, a CRA may charge you up to eight dollars.

 

You can dispute inaccurate information with the CRA. If you tell a CRA that your file contains inaccurate information, the CRA must investigate the items (usually within 30 days) by presenting to its information source all relevant evidence you submit, unless your dispute is frivolous. The source must review your evidence and report its findings to the CRA. (The source also must advise national CRAs -- to which it has provided the data -- of any error.) The CRA must give you a written report of the investigation and a copy of your report if the investigation results in any change. If the CRA's investigation does not resolve the dispute, you may add a brief statement to your file. The CRA must normally include a summary of your statement in future reports. If an item is deleted or a dispute statement is filed, you may ask that anyone who has recently received your report be notified of the change.

 

Inaccurate information must be corrected or deleted. A CRA must remove or correct inaccurate or unverified information from its files, usually within 30 days after you dispute it. However, the CRA is not required to remove accurate data from your file unless it is outdated (as described below) or cannot be verified. If your dispute results in any change to your report, the CRA cannot reinsert into your file a disputed item unless the information source verifies its accuracy and completeness. In addition, the CRA must give you a written notice telling you it has reinserted the item. The notice must include the name, address and phone number of the information source.

 

You can dispute inaccurate items with the source of the information. If you tell anyone -- such as a creditor who reports to a CRA -- that you dispute an item, they may not then report the information to a CRA without including a notice of your dispute. In addition, once you've notified the source of the error in writing, it may not continue to report the information if it is, in fact, an error.

 

Outdated information may not be reported. In most cases, a CRA may not report negative information that is more than seven years old; ten years for bankruptcies.

 

Access to your file is limited. A CRA may provide information about you only to people with a need recognized by the FCRA -- usually to consider an application with a creditor, insurer, employer, landlord, or other business. For more info call: 1-866-975-8600 Page 6 of 7 Or visit: www.SportsSignup.com ©2007 League Sports Services LLC

 

Your consent is required for reports that are provided to employers, or reports that contain medical information. A CRA may not give out information about you to your employer, or prospective employer, without your written consent. A CRA may not report medical information about you to creditors, insurers, or employers without your permission.

 

You may seek damages from violators. If a CRA, a user or (in some cases) a provider of CRA data, violates the FCRA, you may sue them in state or federal court.

 

The FCRA gives several different federal agencies authority to enforce the FCRA:

CRAs, creditors and others not listed below

Federal Trade Commission Consumer Response Center - FCRA Washington, DC 20580 202-326-3761

 

National banks, federal branches/agencies of foreign banks (word "National" or initials "N.A." appear in or after bank's name)

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Compliance Management, Mail Stop 6-6 Washington, DC 20219 800-613-6743

 

Federal Reserve System member banks (except national banks, and federal branches/agencies of foreign banks)

Federal Reserve Board Division of Consumer & Community Affairs Washington, DC 20551 202-452-3693

 

Savings associations and federally chartered savings banks (word "Federal" or initials "F.S.B." appear in federal institution's name)

Office of Thrift Supervision Consumer Programs Washington, DC 20552 800-842-6929

 

Federal credit unions (words "Federal Credit Union" appear in institution's name)

National Credit Union Administration 1775 Duke Street Alexandria, VA 22314 703-518-6360

 

State-chartered banks that are not members of the Federal Reserve System

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Division of Compliance & Consumer Affairs Washington, DC 20429  For more

info call: 1-866-975-8600 Page 7 of 7 Or visit: www.SportsSignup.com ©2007 League Sports Services LLC

800-934-FDIC

 

Air, surface, or rail common carriers regulated by former Civil Aeronautics Board or Interstate Commerce Commission

Department of Transportation Office of Financial Management Washington, DC 20590 202-366-1306

 

Activities subject to the Packers and Stockyards Act, 1921

Department of Agriculture Office of Deputy Administrator - GIPSA Washington, DC 20250 202-720-7051

 


 


 


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