Sadler case study
The law has made the penalties for child abuse worse for certain people. Some of the worse penalties happen when a person with power over a child causes the abuse. In sport, the people that have power over kids are coaches. States have made it against the law for a coach to have sexual contact with an athlete.
Charles Sadler broke this law in 2006. Sadler was a coach for a traveling softball team. On the team was a 17 year old girl. In Virginia a person has to be 18 years old to be an adult. Since the girl was not 18 the law said she cannot have sexual contact with an adult.
Sadler was a friend of the girl’s father. Sadler had a crush on the girl. The girl also had a crush on Sadler. After a while, Sadler and the girl kissed. The two would kiss again. This time they kissed for five to 10 minutes. While kissing, Sadler touched the girl in a sexual way.
On a trip with the softball team the father of the girl found out about the kissing. First the father removed the girl from the team. Then he told the police. Sadler was arrested and put in jail for two years.
Coach Sadler’s actions can teach us two things.
1) Coaches have power over athletes
2) An athlete cannot consent to sexual contact with who has power over them.
Therefore, if a coach has sexual contact with an athlete they may break the law and could go to jail.
This really happened, look at Sadler v. Commonwealth of Virginia, 654 S.E.2d 313 to read the full story.
Grocesly case study
The law has made the penalties for child abuse worse for certain people. Some of the worse penalties happen when a person with power over a child causes the abuse. In sport, the people that have power over kids are coaches. States have made it against the law for a coach to have sexual contact with an athlete. The law has also said that coaches have a duty to keep the athletes safe. This duty is placed on coaches since they have a lot of access to the athletes. Because of this, the law has made it against the law for a coach to use their access to harm the athletes.
In 2005 Coach Grocesly broke this law. At the time Grocesly was 21 years old. He worked as a volunteer boys track coach at Joliet West High School. Grocesly met M.C.R. at a school basketball game. M.C.R. was a 15-year-old cheerleader and track athlete. Grocesly and M.C.R. started to date. Grocesly never told M.C.R. that he was a coach at her school.
Someone found out that Grocesly and M.C.R. were dating and told the police. Grocesly was arrested. He was put in jail for 12.5 years. The court made the punishment so bad because Grocesly was a coach. The court said coaches have power over athletes. This power makes the abuse worse in the eyes of the law.
Three lessons can be learned from this case.
- Coaches have power over athletes
- The coach has power over the athlete even if the athlete does not know that the person is a coach.
- The law will make the punishment worse when the coach uses their power to get access to abuse children.
This really happened, look at Illinois v. Grocesly 384 Ill. App.3d 682 to read the full story.
* This webpage does not serve as legal advice and is intended simply to provide you with basic resources. If you find yourself amidst legal issues, consider engaging legal counsel.