According to local authorities have arrested and charged 48-year-old Thomas Harzinski, of Olanta, with multiple counts of sexual assault, indecent assault and rape of a child. Harzinski is the head baseball coach at Curwensville High School located at 650 Beech St, Curwensville, PA 16833.
State police in Clearfield County say they received a report from the father of two young boys that his 16-year-old son had been molested by Harzinski. Upon further investigation, the 10-year-old brother also reported being molested at least 4 to 6 times within the past year.
According to the affidavit, the victims reported that the alleged abuse occurred at various locations, including a hotel in Pittsburgh, a campground in Williamsport and Harzinski's residence. Allegedly, Harzinski would buy the victims gifts, such as baseball cards and sports memorabilia, and take them on trips, such as to Pittsburgh Pirates games and the Little League World Series.
When police questioned Harzinski about the allegations, he reportedly confessed to the abuse. He is currently being held in Clearfield County Prison and is awaiting a preliminary hearing without bond.
Attorney contributor Brian Kent is an advocate for school sex abuse victims throughout Pennsylvania. Through his experience as a school sex crimes lawyer, Brian helps victims sexually abused by a high school coach get the justice they deserve.
"It is the duty of high schools to provide a safe environment for all students, including athletes, and to take appropriate preventive steps to protect students from sexual abuse. This includes conducting background checks on all staff, coaches, and volunteers; providing educational programs that raise awareness of the risks of sexual abuse; implementing policies to protect students from sexual abuse; and providing supervision to ensure that such policies are being implemented."
"At the same time, it is important to note that victims of sexual abuse by a high school coach have legal rights that must be respected. The victim has the right to file a civil lawsuit against the school and the coach for negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, and violation of their civil rights. They may also be entitled to compensation for their physical, emotional, and psychological injuries. Lastly, the victim may be able to seek punitive damages from the school if it can be shown that the school neglected to provide protective measures or failed to follow up on reports of misconduct. Victims and their families can learn more about their rights by speaking with an experienced school sex crimes lawyer."