Background Checks for Youth Leagues Defeated


[with audio]


A bill to require background checks for volunteers and employees of youth sports clubs failed to pass the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Opponents said the measure had too many gaps in it. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

In Colorado, roughly 6 million children play in youth sports clubs, ranging from soccer and baseball to swimming and basketball. Supporters say these sports clubs attract sexual predators because of lax standards.

Senate Bill 48 [.pdf] would have required any employee or volunteer who spends more than five days each month with the children to have a background check.

“Offenders who were in the Catholic Church and in the Boy Scouts, those offenders are leaving those programs and they’re coming to youth sports,” said Michelle Peterson, a child abuse investigator. “There’s absolutely no doubt, and I see that myself. The Catholic Church, Boy Scouts, they’ve had these incidents, even Penn State. They recognize their gaping holes, their lack of policies, their lack of background checks, so they implemented all this change.”

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