Youth sports/coaching allows easy unsupervised access to children with significant opportunities for alone time with children with easy involvement and interaction and little or no outside supervision. This gives predators easy access to “groom” and prey upon a child.

Did you have a coach, volunteer or other adult, show undue interest, attention and favoritism towards you that seemed inappropriate or made you uncomfortable.

At the time, the attention and “specialness” of the perpetrator toward you seemed innocent, caring and a normal part of your sporting activities.

Often, even welcomed by unknowing and unaware parents. It is important to listen to your intuition and believe your memories. Remember, predators always go where the prey is. That includes organized youth sports leagues and activities. It’s up to the adults to identify potential predators, even if the appointed supervising adult is the predator.

Perpetrators who offered to save team expenses by buying the child a uniform, acted as a “father figure” for single moms with children, slept in the same bed with children at overnight sporting competitions, and volunteered to drive a child to team events. These actions should set off alarm bells. The predator is grooming the child while he grooms the family as well.

Survivors, you know what I’m talking about. You may have experienced it. You know how predators groom and sexually abuse. You may have been groomed and then abused while in youth sports. Maybe your youth sport child sex abuser took you out for ice cream, offered to buy the team pizza if you would do what they wanted, and isolated you. You felt uncomfortable because the coach, other parents, volunteers, or the team manager seemed to frequently have their hands on you, touching your back, shoulders, patting your butt, or being obsessed with you.

Or maybe you experienced the opposite behavior from a coach, volunteer, team manager. They were punishing, behaved harshly with you, continuously degrading criticism, verbal abuse, physical abuse or treatment. They were trying to intimidate and frighten you into silence.

The problem with youth sports teams and a child breaking their silence is that there is a prevailing attitude of sacrificing for the team, being a “good sport,” “being manly”, “tough”, “making the cut” and showing absolute loyalty to the team. Once a child comes forward about a favorite coach, powerful team doctor, trainer, or liked volunteer, they risk ostracism from the other children and adults, blame, and isolate the victimized child.

Children can be as young as 5 and old as 17 who are afraid to report sexual abuse for fear of ostracism from teammates and classmates.

Even when you protested, refused to attend after school practice, were fearful, subdued around a coach, team manager, volunteer, team doctor, other parent, panicked or protested at being driven by a certain coach, then someone needed to listen to you and see the source of your fear and pain.

There are cases where coaches showered children with affection, special treats and one-of-a-kind activities while molesting them.

Did you come home with wet hair when you did not attend any sporting activities or team events that day, mentioned showering with an adult, coach, volunteer, frequently asked to stay after practice or after the game, when other kids were allowed to go home. If you were sexually abused, you deserve justice today for what you endured as a child. Karney Law believes you. Shari Karney will fight for you.

Karney Law–for survivors of sports team sexual abuse, USA Olympics Team abuse, coaches, team doctors who sexually abused you.

We believe in you and applaud your courage. Let’s fight this fight together against those coaches, sports teams, institutional athletics that sexually abused you!