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AAU Check Finds 150 Adults Potentially Threatening to Children

The Amateur Athletic Union said background checks found 150 adult participants in the U.S.’s biggest amateur sports organization with issues “that could prove to be problematic for AAU membership.”

The findings came from a screening of 27,000 adults between Sept. 1 and Oct. 15, the AAU said in a statement. It is performing security reviews on more than 100,000 coaches, adult athletes, volunteers and support staff to help identify those who might be threats to child athletes, including pedophiles and people convicted of drug-related offenses.

The background checks are part of steps to prevent abuse following allegations last year that a former president of the AAU, Bobby Dodd, molested two basketball players in the 1980s. Dodd denied the allegations and no formal charges have been brought against him.

“The steps that we have taken will safeguard children participating in amateur sports across the country,” AAU National President Henry Forrest said in the response. “It is our expectation that those involved in AAU programming share that philosophy, and the background checks provide an additional safeguard for our youth athletes.”

The AAU, which sponsors 250 national championships and 30,000 age-division events for more than 500,000 athletes every year, didn’t specify the offenses it found, citing privacy. It also refused to say how many of the 150 will be banned from the AAU. No one in the “problematic” group is on the board, the AAU said in an e-mail response to questions.

In June, the AAU announced that it would conduct background checks, ban one-on-one contact between adults and youths and require volunteers and staff to report any suspected child abuse to law enforcement and AAU officials.

The organization hired Alpharetta, Georgia-based LexisNexis Risk Solutions, a division of London-based Reed Elsevier, to conduct the background searches following a seven-month review of its safety policies.

Forrest said that adult memberships and renewals are slightly higher than a year ago without giving figures.

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