According to WGN-TV News, a gymnastics coach in Northern Illinois was sentenced after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting students.
Joseph R. Hannon, 25-years-old, worked at Energym, a gymnastics school in Sycamore. Hannon admitted to sexually assaulting multiple children younger than 13-years-old in 2016 between April and September. He admitted to sexually assaulting six victims.
Hannon was hired by Energym in 2015 while he was on probation for a felony drug case in 2013. Energym's owner reported Hannon was hired without a background check being completed.
Attorney contributor Brian Kent, an experienced sexual assault lawyer, represents victims sexually abused in civil lawsuits. Below, Brian shares his thoughts on the rights of victims sexually abused by a coach.
"Sports organizations have a legal duty to provide a safe environment and protect their trainees. These organizations must try their best to ensure predators are not working with children. Sadly, across the country, we have seen sexual predators working in environments with children. These predators often use their positions of power to exploit the children they are working with sexually. Sports gyms must actively do their best to protect students from sexual predators. Examples of providing protection include cameras, reporting systems, and background checks."
"Victims and their families should acquire an experienced sexual assault attorney's services to determine if the gym provided adequate safety for the children in their care. If the sports gym did not implement proper safety measures, it might be deemed negligent. An example of negligence is if a sports gym failed to run a staff member's background check. In cases of negligence, victims and their families should know they may have grounds for a civil lawsuit and receive compensation for any damages."