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Posts Tagged "coach"

Volusia Teacher, Coach, Youth Pastor Found With 8,000 Child Porn Images. Child Sex Abuse Victims Likely.

Posted by on Jul 22, 2014 in Child Sexual Abuse

Volusia Teacher, Coach, Youth Pastor Found With 8,000 Child Porn Images.  Child Sex Abuse Victims Likely.

I have to admit that I was rather astonished to read this article on the WESH.com website regarding a South Daytona teacher who has been accused of possessing thousands of child pornography images, and likely some other related charges.  My astonishment is two-fold. First, it is always distressing as a citizen of Central Florida to realize that there are people — and especially a teacher — like this, in our community.  Second, I was astonished at this story as a Florida child sexual abuse attorney because of some of the things that were seemingly known or knowable regarding the perpetrator here. 42-year-old Matthew Grazziani was arrested in his home in Volusia County last week.  FBI investigators found approximately 8,000 images of child pornography on his computer.  Apparently the FBI had become interested in Mr. Grazziani when he started sending child pornography images across the Internet to other people.  Obviously, Mr. Grazziani has not been found guilty of anything at this time, he has only been accused. 8,000 pornographic images is bad enough, but Mr. Grazziani’s computer also allegedly contained a folder entitled “personally known” that contained 41 subfolders with boys names on them.  Investigators also allegedly found at least one image of Mr. Grazziani, himself, engaged in a sex act with a young boy. Based upon my experience handling these kinds of cases, it would be shocking to me if there were not multiple child sexual abuse victims associated with Mr. Grazziani if these reports of the investigation are true.  Behavior like that seems similar to that of other sexual predators.  They very rarely have single victims. It should be noted that Mr. Grazziani occupies positions often sought-after by pedophiles.  At the time of his arrest he was serving as a middle school teacher at Warner Christian Academy in South Daytona, as well all serving as a coach and director of the summer camp program at the school.  In addition, Mr. Grazziani served as a youth pastor at the Faith Community Church in Edgewater.  Again, given Mr. Grazziani’s status in the community, if the investigation is accurate, it would not surprise if me at all if there were sexual abuse victims both at the middle school and the church. As a child sexual abuse lawyer, I was most shocked by information in the story that Edgewater police are now looking into a closed investigation that they opened 10 years ago where  Mr. Grazziani was accused of inappropriately touching a child. It is beyond me how someone who was accused of such a crime, even if he was not formally criminally charged, should be placed by an organization in a trusted position like teacher, coach, camp counselor, and youth minister.  While Mr. Grazziani certainly could have (and probably did) make a good impression during his interviews, surely any of these organizations could have found candidates who were similarly qualified, but...

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Background Check Is Only Part Of The Story In Alleged Orlando Youth Coach Sex Abuse Case

Posted by on Apr 4, 2013 in Child Sexual Abuse

Background Check Is Only Part Of The Story In Alleged Orlando Youth Coach Sex Abuse Case

Like many Central Floridians, I’ve been following the media coverage surrounding the arrest last week of Jeffrey McWhorter on charges of lewd conduct toward children.  Mr. McWhorter is the 54-year old man who has apparently volunteered as a football and basketball coach over the past 32 years.  According to the Orlando Sentinel, Mr. McWhorter has worked for the City of Orlando for at least the past seven years. Mr. McWhorter is in trouble because seven boys have come forward with allegations that he sexually abused them, performed sex acts in front of them, or propositioned them to perform sexual acts on him. The aspect of the case the interested me as a Florida child sexual abuse attorney was the City of Orlando’s response to the allegations. After finding out about the circumstances of Mr. McWhorter’s arrest, the City spokesperson’s first statement was that the City had performed a thorough background check on Mr. McWhorter, was aware that he had a history of a felony drug conviction several years ago, but felt he was fine to serve as a role model for young boys. While reasonable people might disagree about whether an allegedly reformed convicted felon should be cleared to coach young boys, focusing on the background check obscures what might be the source of the most culpability for these acts of sexual abuse. A competent background check is only a part of what an institution like a youth sports league or child mentoring organization must do to keep kids safe. Institutions and organization also owe children a duty to closely and properly supervise and monitor the relationships between adults and children. This includes making sure that children are not placed in positions where they can be sexually abused, or forced to witness sexual acts by adults. In other words, an organization like a City or church cannot perform a background check on an individual and then let its guard down. Children deserve their constant vigilance. It will be interesting to see what the City did to supervise Mr. McWhorter with these kids. If you have any questions concerning a Florida child sexual abuse case, call Winter Park attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at...

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