AAU mandates background checks for all volunteers

42-point plan to protect children from sexual and other types of abuse. The Amateur Athletic Union’s moves come after a six-month policy review that followed November’s dismissal of its CEO, who was publicly accused of, but never charged with, abusing boys in the 1980s. The review also came at a time when other child sexual abuse accusations were being made against high-profile sports figures not connected to the organization, including former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. “This is about changing our culture. It’s about bringing the AAU into a new era of accountability … strength and, most importantly, trust,” operations director James Parker said at a news conference at the group’s headquarters in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. At the recommendation of two task forces, the Amateur Athletic Union will conduct a background screen of all AAU coaches, volunteers and staff members when they apply for membership yearly. The checks will begin in mid-August as associates register for the new membership year, which begins September 1. The checks will be done on everyone regardless of how long they’ve been associated with the AAU, and the group will check backgrounds for anything that causes concern for the safety of children, including convictions in child sex abuse and drug cases. AAU officials will consider the information and determine the group’s response, which could include banning an offender from the group, officials said. “We know this won’t be a catch-all solution, but we strongly believe it will be a deterrent … to keep (offenders) at bay,” said Henry Forest, chairman of the group’s compliance committee.]]>

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