Softball Coach Accused of Sexually Assaulting Teen Player
Hendersonville police have arrested and charged the coach of a traveling high school softball team with statutory rape. 45-year-old Kenneth Smith was arrested at his home in Maryville on Thursday, December 13 following an investigation by Hendersonville police. Authorities began investigating Smith after receiving a report that a female had been sexually assaulted in Hendersonville by the director of a traveling high school softball program.
Detectives say that they discovered evidence of multiple incidents of sexual advances and contact involving the suspect and victim in Hendersonville and other parts of the state. At the time of these incidents, the victim was younger than 18 years old.
Smith is being held in the Sumner County Jail on two counts of statutory rape by an authority figure and two counts of solicitation of a minor. He is scheduled to appear in Sumner County General Sessions Court on January 9.
Legal Recourse for Victims of Sexual Abuse by Youth Sports Coaches
After a successful career as a sex crimes prosecutor, attorney Brian Kent of AbuseGuardian.com now represents sexual assault victims in civil lawsuits. We’ve asked him to add some input into the legal options available to those who have been sexually assaulted by youth sports coaches:
The problem of sexual abuse in youth sports organizations has garnered national attention in the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal. While most youth sports coaches are honorable people who contribute to their communities, sexual predators also seek out these positions. These predators exploit their positions of trust and authority in order to commit heinous crimes. We must make sure that these perpetrators and their enablers are both held accountable for the trauma they’ve caused.
In some cases of child sexual abuse, the abuser is not the only one responsible. Occasionally, third parties also bear part of the blame for failing to prevent the abuse or mishandling reports of abuse. For example, a youth sports organization might be considered liable for sexual abuse if they failed to report previous allegations of sexual misconduct against a coach. In cases like this, the victims and their families could have grounds for a lawsuit.
If you or your child is a survivor of sexual abuse by a youth sports coach, you can learn more about your family’s legal options by speaking to an experienced sexual abuse survivors lawyer.
Local Coverage by NBC 10 WBIR
Location of Hendersonville, TN