Former AAU Girls Basketball Coach Seeks to Withdraw Sexual Abuse Guilty Plea
Former AAU youth girls basketball coach Barry Wolfe is seeking to withdraw a guilty plea he made for multiple counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse earlier this summer. The 54-year-old Wolf appeared in court in Coles County on August 29 to have a new lawyer appointed after his previous attorney decided to withdraw from the case.
Wolf pleaded guilty on June 26 to four counts of sexual assault after he was accused of sexually abusing underage players in his program, which has since ceased operation. Two victims accused him of sexually abusing him in multiple locations, mostly around Coles County.
Wolf was sentenced to 60 years in prison on August 11.
A status hearing is scheduled for September 13, in which a decision will be made on Wolfe’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea.
Legal Recourse For Survivors of Sexual Abuse by Coaches
Brian Kent of AbuseGuardian.com is a victims rights lawyer who specializes in helping the victims of sexual violence find justice. We’ve asked him to contribute some information on how the legal system can help families affected by child sexual abuse:
When we sign our kids up for youth sports leagues, we expect their experience to be enriching, educational, and formative. There are numerous benefits to playing youth sports, and the coaches we entrust with our children’s care should be mentors who help them develop valuable skills both on and off the court. Unfortunately, sexual predators are drawn to positions like coaching because they see an opportunity to exploit their positions of trust in order to sexually abuse the children they’re trusted to oversee.
When a child is sexually assaulted by an adult entrusted with their care, the victim and their family struggle with many difficulties. For many families, seeing the perpetrator arrested, charged, and convicted can be a valuable part of the healing process. In addition, families in this tragic situation should be aware that the organizations which employ these coaches, along with the perpetrators themselves, can be held liable for their role in committing or enabling sexual abuse.
If a youth sports organization’s negligence played a role in sexual abuse, the victim’s family could have grounds for a lawsuit against the organization. For example, an organization could be considered negligent if they failed to notify authorities of previous complaints of sexual misconduct, which resulted in another victim being abused.
If your family is struggling to find peace after your child was sexually abused by a coach, we advise speaking with an experienced sexual abuse victims lawyer who can help you understand your legal options.