Softball Coach Arrested, Charged with Multiple Sex Offenses
A Carlisle-area softball coach was arrested on Friday, January 11 and charged with multiple sex offenses in connection with allegations that he sexually abused at least four girls he was coaching.
48-year-old Joey V. Sullenberger has been charged with one felony count of sexual assault, two felony counts of aggravated indecent assault, and three felony counts each of corruption of minors and sexual assault by a sports official. He has also been charged with five misdemeanor counts of indecent assault and one misdemeanor count of hindering apprehension.
Sullenberger was a coach for the Susquehanna Valley Slam, which is a traveling girls’ fast-pitch softball team based out of Hummelstown. He also gave players private lessons at Central Penn Sportsplex – where many of the alleged incidents occurred. Many local sports leagues have begun cutting ties with that facility and announcing that they would begin holding their practices elsewhere.
Sullenberger was also hired as the head varsity girls softball coach for the Carlisle Area School District in September. The district has announced that he was immediately placed on leave after the district learned of the criminal investigation.
The investigation began on December 22 after a girl filed a complaint with the Carlisle Police concerning alleged sexual misconduct involving Sullenberger. During their investigation, the department identified three additional victims. The investigation is ongoing.
The four alleged assaults all took place in 2018. Police believe that there may be other victims and have asked anyone with related information to contact Detective Thomas Dolan at the Carlise Police Department, 717-240-6621.
Legal Recourse for Victims of Youth Sports Sexual Abuse
Attorney contributor Brian Kent of AbuseGuardian.com specializes in helping sexual abuse survivors and their families find answers, justice, and support through civil lawsuits. We’ve asked him to discuss the legal options available to those who have been sexually abused by youth sports coaches:
Sadly, we live in a world where all parents must be wary of the threat of sexual predators who want to hurt their children. These predators are often found in fields that involve working with kids, such as teaching and coaching. When a youth sports coach sexually abuses children on his team, it’s critical to make sure the abuser is prosecuted and that the victims get the full support they need. It’s also important to determine if the youth sports organization or another third party was negligent in a way that allowed the abuse to occur.
Some cases of youth sports child sexual abuse only occur due to negligence. For example, a youth sports organization might be considered negligent if they failed to report suspected child abuse to law enforcement. In those cases which involve negligence, the victims and their families may have the option to file a lawsuit.
If you or your child is a victim of youth sports sexual abuse, we understand the difficulties your family is facing during this troubling time. If you’d like to learn more about how your family can find justice by taking legal action, contact one of our experienced sexual abuse survivors attorneys for a free consultation.