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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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