Is Your Child’s Lifeguard, Camp Counselors, Coaches Sex Offenders?
State laws nationwide prohibit sex offenders from working as school teachers, coaches and school bus drivers, but most laws do not prevent them from sitting in a lifeguard chair, teaching karate, coaching youth, or dance instructors in the private sector. There is a laundry list of jobs that are not regulated federally that a convicted sex offender can obtain. This fact is beyond scary and government must take immediate action to stop it.
The current federal law, known as the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, leaves it up to states to decide where convicted sex offenders can be employed.
YMCA’s have begun revoking the memberships of registered sex offenders in a move to comb out predators who may come in contact with the thousands of children who use Y’s.
Senator Chuck Schumer, D-NY, is proposing legislation that would close what he is calling loopholes in the federal law that currently allow pedophiles to work with children. “Sex offenders are different than just about any other criminal because the percent of recidivism is huge and the chance of rehabilitation is unfortunately small,” Schumer told ABCNews.com.
According to the Center for Sex Offender Management, a part of the U.S. Department of Justice, between 12 and 14 percent of sex offenders are known to have repeated their crimes. Data does show, however, that many sex crimes go unreported and the statistic could be low.
Ultimately every company should have in place a complete background check of every potential employee (National, State and County). And, periodic checks should be in place.
As parents and guardians it is your J-O-B to be proactive as the safety of your children is in your hands. There is so much information at our fingertips today. Do not be afraid to ask questions, do not be nervous about what others may think if you inquire or you feel that something may not seem “right”. Speak up, be a voice. You would rather be safe than sorry. And, you have every right to know what the policy is of the company or organization is that your child is attending or participating in. Also, ask the organizations if the staff is certified in Stewards of Children, a training prevention program based on Darkness to Light’s 7 Steps to Protecting our Children that teaches adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.
Common traits of sex offenders should help you raise the red flag on inappropriate relationships between adults and your children.
- Adults who seem preoccupied with children
- Single adults who work or volunteer with children’s clubs/activities and frequently spend their free time doing “special” things with kids
- Adults who spend time volunteering with youth groups who do not have children in those groups
- Adults who seem to engage in frequent contact with children, i.e., casual touching, caressing, wrestling, tickling, combing hair or having children sit on their lap
- Adults who act like children when with children or who allow children to do questionable or inappropriate things
- Adults who want to take your children on special outings too frequently or plan activities that would include being alone with your child
- Adults who do not have children and seem to know too much about the current fads or music popular with children
- Adults that your children seem to like for reasons you don’t understand
- Adults who seem able to infiltrate family and social functions or are “always available” to watch your kids
Talking to your kids about abuse and keeping the line of communication open with your kids is key.
- Use proper or semi-proper names for body parts (penis and vagina), and phrases like: Private parts are “private and special.”
- Tell your children that if anyone touches or tries to see their private parts; tries to get them to touch or look at another person’s private parts; shows them pictures of or tries to take pictures of their private parts; talks to them about sex; walks in on them in the bathroom; or does anything that makes them feel uncomfortable to tell you or a “support person” as soon as they can.
- Tell your children that some children and adults have “touching problems.” These people can make “secret touching” look accidental, and they should still tell you even if they think it might have been an accident.
- Tell your children that touching problems are kind of like stealing or lying, and that the people who have those kinds of problems need special help so they don’t continue to have problems or get into trouble. Don’t describe it as a “sickness.”
- Tell your children that some people try to trick kids into keeping touching a secret. Tell your children, “We don’t want those kinds of secrets in our family.”
- Give your children examples of things that someone might use to try to get them to keep a secret: candy, money, special privileges, threats, subtle fear of loss, separation, or punishment.
- Make sure they have support people they can talk to at home, at school, in their extended family, neighborhood or church. Have them pick out three people and tell you who they are. Put the phone numbers next to your home phone and let them know that, if for any reason they cannot talk to you, they should call or go see another support person.
Resources (Where Do Sex Offenders Live in Your Neighborhood?):
Download the app, “Find Sex Offenders” for FREE for iPhones and Adroids TODAY! Not only will it give you exact locations of an offenders address and more it displays the nearest police and fire departments.
Take care and STAY SAFE!
Taking a bold effort to reach into communities across the country, Anny Jacoby is a Prevention Specialist and an authorized Facilitator for Stewards of Children through the Darkness to Light program, an organization whose mission is to train adults in every community to responsibly attack the issue of child sexual abuse.
Please contact Anny to schedule Children’s of Steward’s training or to arrange a Prevent Now! meeting for your community.