Keeping an Eye on Coaches One Program Working to Keep Sex Offenders Away from Children
Kmitch, Justin, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Justin Kmitch Daily Herald Staff Writer
Do you know who will be coaching your child's sports teams this summer? The Bloomingdale Park District and Bloomingdale Baseball and Softball Association want to make sure you do.
Having recognized a "crack in the system" that allowed registered sex offender David Litt to coach youth baseball and serve on the league's governing body, both organizations vow to be more vigilant in their screening procedures.
The association said every adult on the field will be given a thorough background check and both organizations have promised to improve communication among themselves to create and share a database of approved volunteers.
In late January, public outcry prompted Litt, 39, to resign from his role as treasurer after some parents learned he's listed on the state's sex offender registry.
According to DuPage County court records, Litt was found guilty in October 1998 of misdemeanor criminal sexual abuse against a female acquaintance in her Wheaton home in November 1997.
Litt has denied the incident ever occurred and said he is working to get his record expunged, but he did not return calls left for this report.
Despite the fact that Litt's conviction involved an offense against an adult, the park district has a policy that prohibits anyone on the adult or juvenile sex offender list from participating in youth athletic programs on park district fields.
Parks Executive Director Stephen Scholten said he and Litt discussed Litt's status before the 2006 season and Litt was told he would not be allowed to coach until his 10-year stay on the list is complete in 2008. Somehow, Litt coached in 2006.
"The coaching list came to us when the season started, but it went straight to the recreation supervisor and I never saw it. We agreed he wouldn't coach and I took him at his word," Scholten said. "I wish there was a way to guarantee 100 percent that this wouldn't happen, but there's not.
"The possibility of someone coaching who shouldn't is there, but remote. Thankfully, this has allowed us to identify a crack in the system and we've fixed it."
Scholten also said he was aware of only one family who had removed their children from the program as a result of Litt's participation. …