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Unpublished Paper
Position of Authority Statutes in Athletic Programs: A Proposed Roadmap for the Model Penal Code Revisions in Response to Jerry Sandusky
ExpressO (2013)
  • Casey Schwab, University of Southern California
Abstract
Jerry Sandusky, in an interview with Bob Costas on NBC’s “Rock Center,” admitted to “horsing around” while showering with young boys. He denied any sexual misconduct despite this admission. Since his admission of “horseplay” but denial of sexual abuse, the American public has been calling for a broad statutory rule barring adult coaches from being present while young athletes are in the shower. The majority of the current relevant literature examines the consequences that follow once coaches are already convicted of sexual abuse – not how their convictions were reached. The cases in which a coach is accused of sexual abuse for engaging in an action inherently accepted or necessary in athletics, but is ultimately acquitted, have yet to be addressed by both the Model Penal Code and contemporary jurisprudence. This article is in three parts. Part 1 presents the ambiguities in current state versions of “position of authority” statutes and laws criminalizing “sexual contact.” These examples support the contention that the American Law Institute must provide a model statute in the Model Penal Code in response to Sandusky’s crimes. Part 2 examines the unique relationships, circumstances and standards of conduct in athletics, revealing the prudence of a statutory structure that takes these characteristics into account. Then, cases exemplifying these unique constructs are presented, along with stories of falsely accused coaches and the consequences of shortcomings within current statutory authority.F Finally, part 3 provides a proposal for the revision project of the Model Penal Code, modeled after the burden-shifting approach used in Title VII discrimination cases. The proposal begins with several reasons why the burden-shifting approach used in Title VII cases is appropriate for cases in which coaches are accused of sexual abuse. Then, the proposed statute is delineated demonstrating the benefits of each step. Lastly, potential problems with the proposal are presented.
Keywords
  • Position of Authority Statutes,
  • Coaches,
  • Child Athletes,
  • Jerry Sandusky
Publication Date
April 15, 2013
Citation Information
Casey Schwab. "Position of Authority Statutes in Athletic Programs: A Proposed Roadmap for the Model Penal Code Revisions in Response to Jerry Sandusky" ExpressO (2013)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/casey_schwab/1/