The molestation arrest of a Flagler County Youth Soccer Coach for repeatedly sexually abusing 12-year old and 16-year old boys raises questions about what the soccer clubs the coach worked for knew or should have known about his activities. The arrest of Sean Stern, 35, also raises the question about how many other victims he might have left in his wake. According to a story on the Central Florida News 13 website, Mr. Stern was arrested in Tacoma, Washington, after Flagler County Sheriff’s Deputies issued a nationwide-warrant. The story mentioned that Stern had coached at a multitude of Central and East Florida soccer clubs, soccer schools, and training facilities. First, it should be emphasized that Mr. Stern has only been accused of crimes, and is entitled to the the assumption of innocence. However, if Mr. Stern did abuse the children he has been accused of molesting, they are very likely not his only victims. In our experience handing Florida child sexual abuse cases, perpetrators very rarely only abuse one or two children. It is commonplace for experienced child sex abusers to have scores of victims. In fact, we have been involved in a child sex abuse case against a soccer club in the Florida panhandle where law enforcement estimated that the perpetrator had over 100 child victims. This obviously horrifying. With large numbers of victims, it is very rare that perpetrators can entirely mask their urges and activities. Child sex abusers generally “groom” their victims by showing them lots of attention, affection, and showering them with gifts. We refer to these kinds of behaviors as “Red Flags.” We saw many Red Flags by the molester in our panhandle soccer club case, and it would be surprising if Mr. Stern had not shown similar behaviors during his numerous and frequent stops along the Central Florida youth soccer circuit. (Even the frequency of the stops seems to raise questions.) Parents who discover that their children have been sexually abused understandably have many questions about how youth-focused organizations can be held liable when their employees or volunteers sexually abuse children. If you have need information or have questions, please call Winter Park child sexual abuse attorneys Kim Michael Cullen or Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901, or visit their website at...Read More »
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