Safe Sport Policy

INTRODUCTION

In conjunction and with the help of USRowing, Lake Union Crew, LLC (hereinafter referred to as

“LUC”) has adopted the following SafeSport policies. The policies contained in this handbook are

internal and meant as a guide for activities sponsored by LUC, particularly any programs involving youth

participants.

This handbook will identify and address six primary types of misconduct, including bullying, harassment,

hazing, emotional misconduct, physical misconduct, and sexual misconduct. All forms of misconduct

are intolerable and in direct conflict with the USRowing ideals and those of LUC. LUC is committed to

ensuring the safety of its members, coaches, and volunteers.

SECTION 1: TRAINING AND EDUCATION

LUC’s policies and procedures require coaches and/or volunteers to report abuse, misconduct and

violations of its athlete safety program. To do so, coaches and volunteers should have a basic

understanding of sexual abusers, as well as “grooming,” the most common strategy offenders use to

seduce their victims. Using a combination of attention, affection and gifts, offenders select a child, win

the child’s trust (and the trust of the child’s parent or guardian), manipulate the child into sexual

activity, and keep the child from disclosing abuse.

Accordingly, coaches and volunteers involved in club-sponsored youth programs must complete an

awareness training concerning misconduct in sport before performing services for LUC. Misconduct in

sport includes:

  • Bullying
  • Harassment
  • Hazing
  • Emotional misconduct
  • Physical misconduct, and
  • Sexual misconduct, including child sexual abuse

Coaches and volunteers involved in club-sponsored youth programs must successfully complete the

online training module and corresponding tests at: http://training.teamusa.org/store/details/1

The course is free, but the site requires registration. When creating an account, select “USA Rowing”

from the drop down menu when prompted to select an organization and enter membership number

1086.

Those coaches and volunteers who are required to take awareness training will take athlete awareness

training every two (2) years, or no more than 30 day(s) before they have contact with athletes.4

SECTION 2: BACKGROUND SCREENING

CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK POLICY

All coaches and volunteers regularly involved in club-sponsored youth programs will be asked to

undergo a criminal background check that complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act before providing

services for LUC. Through this criminal background check, LUC will utilize reasonable efforts to ascertain

past criminal history of any potential coach or volunteer.

PROCESS

The Criminal Background Check Consent and Waiver Release form must be submitted and the coach or

volunteer cleared before he or she may perform services for LUC. On receipt of the Criminal Background

Check Consent and Waiver Release form, LUC will request that its vendor perform the criminal

background check. As part of its criminal background check, LUC will, at a minimum and without

limitation,

(1) perform a national search of state criminal repositories;

(2) perform a search of state sexual offender registries; and

(3) verify a person’s identification against his or her social security number or other personal

identifier.

POTENTIALLY DISQUALIFYING FACTORS

Criminal History

LUC will use a criminal background check to gather information about a coach’s or volunteer’s prior

criminal history. The information revealed by the criminal background check may disqualify that

individual from serving as a coach, contractor and/or volunteer. Information that could disqualify an

individual includes, but is not limited to, arrests, pleas of no contest, and criminal convictions.

Pending Court Cases

No decision will be made on an individual’s eligibility for work as a new coach, contractor and/or

volunteer if they have a pending court case for any of the potentially disqualifying offenses until the

pending case concludes. If, however, during the case’s pendency, the organization undertakes an

independent investigation, any determination may be used to disqualify the individual.

Full Disclosure

Each potential coach or volunteer involved in club-sponsored youth programs has the affirmative duty

to disclose his or her criminal history. Failing to disclose or intentionally misrepresenting an arrest plea

or conviction history is grounds for employment, volunteer, and/or membership revocation or

restriction, regardless of when the offense is discovered.5

FINDINGS

The criminal background check report will return a “red light” or “green light” score. A green light score

means that the background check vendor located no records that would disqualify the individual. A

green light score, however, is not a certification of safety or permission to bypass/ignore other screening

efforts. Other disqualifying factors may exist, and can be revealed through an interview, reference

checks, or other relevant means.

A red light finding means the criminal background check revealed criminal records which suggest the

individual “does not meet the criteria” and is not suitable to provide services, with or without

compensation, to LUC.

Individuals who are subject to disqualification under a “red light” finding may challenge the accuracy of

the reported information by either (1) appealing to the LUC Director or (2) appealing to the

criminal background check vendor.

FREQUENCY OF CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS

Criminal background checks will be refreshed as required by law and/or at the discretion of the LUC

Director for coaches and/or volunteers who are 18 years of age or older and perform services

for club-sponsored youth programs.

AFFIRMATIVE DUTY TO DISCLOSE

If, during the course of participation in LUC’s youth program, a coach or volunteer is accused, arrested,

indicted or convicted of a criminal offense against a child, it is the duty and responsibility of the coach or

volunteer to disclose such information immediately to the LUC Director.

OTHER POTENTIALLY DISQUALIFYING FACTORS

Even if an individual passes a criminal background check, other factors may warrant disqualification. An

individual may be disqualified and prohibited from providing services for LUC if the individual has:

  • Been held liable for civil penalties or damages involving sexual or physical abuse of a minor
  • Been subject to any court order involving any sexual or physical abuse of a minor, including

but not limited to domestic order or protection

  • A history with another organization (employment, volunteer, etc.) of complaints of sexual or

physical abuse of minors

  • Resigned, been terminated or been asked to resign from a position – paid or unpaid – due to

complaint(s) of sexual or physical abuse of minors

  • A history of other behavior that indicates they may be a danger to LUC members; or
  • Not met the job requirements6

SECTION 3: ATHLETE PROTECTION POLICY

COMMITMENT TO SAFETY

In the event that any coach or volunteer observes inappropriate behaviors (i.e., policy violations),

suspected physical or sexual abuse, or misconduct, it is the personal responsibility of each coach and

volunteer to immediately report his or her observations to a member of the LUC Director.

Coaches and volunteers should not attempt to evaluate the credibility or validity of child physical or

sexual abuse allegations as a condition for reporting to appropriate law enforcement authorities.

Instead, it is the responsibility of each coach and volunteer to immediately report suspicions or

allegations of child physical or sexual abuse to a member of the LUC Director.

Coaches, volunteers, and members shall refrain from all forms of misconduct, which include:

  • Bullying
  • Harassment
  • Hazing
  • Emotional misconduct
  • Physical misconduct
  • Sexual misconduct, including child sexual abuse

PROHIBITED CONDUCT

Bullying

(1) An intentional, persistent and repeated pattern of committing or willfully tolerating physical

and non-physical behaviors that are intended, or have the reasonable potential, to cause

fear, humiliation or physical harm in an attempt to socially exclude, diminish or isolate the

targeted athlete(s), as a condition of membership

(2) Any act or conduct described as bullying under federal or state law

Exceptions: Bullying does not include group or team behaviors that (a) are meant to establish normative

team behaviors, or (b) promote team cohesion. For example, bullying does not include verbal

admonitions to encourage team members to train harder and to push through a difficult training

regimen.

Harassment

(1) A repeated pattern of physical and/or non-physical behaviors that (a) are intended to cause

fear, humiliation or annoyance, (b) offend or degrade, (c) create a hostile environment or (d)

reflect discriminatory bias in an attempt to establish dominance, superiority or power over

an individual athlete or group based on gender, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual

orientation, gender expression or mental or physical disability; or

(2) Any act or conduct described as harassment under federal or state law7

Hazing

(1) Coercing, requiring, forcing or willfully tolerating any humiliating, unwelcome or dangerous

activity that serves as a condition for (a) joining a group or (b) being socially accepted by a

group’s members; or

(2) Any act or conduct described as hazing under federal or state law

Exception: Hazing does not include group or team activities that (a) are meant to establish normative

team behaviors or (b) promote team cohesion.

Emotional Misconduct

(1) A pattern of deliberate, non-contact behavior that has the potential to cause emotional or

psychological harm to an athlete. Non-contact behaviors include:

  • verbal acts
  • physical acts
  • acts that deny attention or support

(2) Any act or conduct described as emotional abuse or misconduct under federal or state law

(e.g. child abuse, child neglect).

Exception: Emotional misconduct does not include professionally-accepted coaching methods of skill

enhancement, physical conditioning, team building, discipline or improving athletic performance.

Physical Misconduct

(1) Contact or non-contact conduct that results in, or reasonably threaten to, cause physical

harm to an athlete or other sport participants; or

(2) Any act or conduct described as physical abuse or misconduct under federal or state law

(e.g. child abuse, child neglect, assault).

Exceptions: Physical misconduct does not include professionally-accepted coaching methods of skill

enhancement, physical conditioning, team building, appropriate discipline or improving athlete

performance.

Sexual Misconduct

(1) Any touching or non-touching sexual interaction that is (a) nonconsensual or forced, (b)

coerced or manipulated, or (c) perpetrated in an aggressive, harassing, exploitative or

threatening manner;

(2) Any sexual interaction between an athlete and an individual with evaluative, direct or

indirect authority. Such relationships involve an imbalance of power and are likely to impair

judgment or be exploitative; or

(3) Any act or conduct described as sexual abuse or misconduct under federal or state law (e.g.

sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, rape)

Note: An imbalance of power is always assumed between a coach and an athlete.8

Child Sexual Abuse

(1) Any sexual activity with a child where consent is not or cannot be given. This includes sexual

contact with a child that is accomplished by deception, manipulation, force or threat of

force, regardless of the age of the participants, and all sexual interactions between an adult

and a child, regardless of whether there is deception or the child understands the sexual

nature of the activity.

(2) Any act or conduct described as child sexual abuse under federal or state law.

WILLFULLY TOLERATING MISCONDUCT

It is a violation of this Athlete Protection Policy if a coach and/or volunteer knows of misconduct, but

takes no action to intervene on behalf of the athlete(s), participant(s), coach, and/or volunteer.

SECTION 4: REPORTING POLICY

Every LUC club member, volunteer, and/or coach must report:

(1) violations of the Athlete Safety Program

(2) misconduct as defined in LUC’s Athlete Protection Policy

(3) suspicions or allegations of child physical or sexual abuse

As a matter of policy, LUC does not investigate suspicions or allegations of child physical or sexual abuse

or attempt to evaluate the credibility or validity of such allegations as a condition for reporting to the

appropriate law enforcement authorities.

TO WHOM TO REPORT

Club members, volunteers, and coaches may report to the LUC Director.

In addition, all allegations of child physical or sexual abuse must be reported to relevant law enforcement authorities.

HOW TO REPORT

A report will be taken in the way that is most comfortable for the person initiating a report including an

anonymous, in-person, verbal, or written report. Regardless of the chosen method of reporting, it is

helpful for individuals to provide, at a minimum, (1) the name of the complainant(s); (2) the type of

misconduct alleged and the name(s) of the individual(s) alleged to have committed the misconduct.9

REPORTING FORM

Individuals reporting child physical or sexual abuse or other misconduct may complete an Incident

Report Form. A copy of this form can be found in the coaches office.

CONFIDENTIALITY, ANONYMOUS REPORTING AND BAD-FAITH ALLEGATIONS

Confidentiality

To the extent permitted by law, and as appropriate, LUC will keep confidential the complainant’s name

on request, not make public the names of potential victims, the accused perpetrator, or the people who

made a report of child physical and sexual abuse to the authorities.

Anonymous Reporting

LUC recognizes it can be difficult for an athlete, teammate, friend or family member to report an

allegation of misconduct and strives to remove as many barriers to reporting as possible. Anonymous

reports may be made without the formality of completing an Incident Report Form:

  •  by completing the Reporting Form without including their name
  •  by expressing concerns verbally to the LUC Director
  • through email, texts, or notes left for the LUC Director

All suspicions of child physical or sexual abuse will be reported to the appropriate law enforcement

authorities.

“Whistleblower” Protection

Regardless of outcome, LUC will support the complainant(s) and his or her right to express concerns in

good faith. LUC will not encourage, allow, or tolerate attempts from any individual to retaliate, punish,

allow or in any way harm any individual(s) who reports a concern in good faith. Such actions against a

complainant will be considered a violation of our Athlete Safety Program and grounds for disciplinary

action.

Bad-Faith Allegations

A report of abuse, misconduct, or policy violations that is malicious, frivolous, or made in bad faith is

prohibited. Such reports will be considered a violation of our Athlete Safety Program and grounds for

disciplinary action. Depending on the nature of the allegation, a person making a malicious, frivolous, or

bad-faith report may also be subject to civil or criminal proceedings.10

SECTION 5: INVESTIGATION AND ENFORCEMENT

LUC utilizes this Investigation and Enforcement procedure to resolve those allegations that are governed

by the Ted Stevens Act. A hearing under the Ted Stevens Act will not necessarily affect LUC’s ability to

immediately suspend or terminate an accused individual. As appropriate, and at its discretion, LUC may

institute a formal investigation and hearing procedure to address serious allegations of misconduct (e.g.,

physical and sexual misconduct). However, LUC anticipates that an investigation and hearing will be

undertaken to address only the most serious allegations and patterns of behavior that warrant

significant sanctions.

The LUC Director has the discretion to impose sanctions on the individual if it finds, based on a

preponderance of evidence, that emotional, physical, or sexual misconduct has occurred and may

impose sanctions on the individual based on its findings.

Sanctions may range from a warning and reprimand to suspension from involvement with LUC for a

period of time. Suspensions from involvement with LUC may be temporary or permanent. The most

severe sanction possible to impose is permanent suspension from involvement and expulsion from LUC.

SECTION 6: APPEAL

If the individual disagrees with the finding or sanction of the LUC Director, he or she may file

an appeal with an independent arbitrator within 30 days of the finding. On appeal, the arbitrator will

address the merits of LUC’s decision de novo, and not the process that was utilized. A decision rendered

by the arbitrator shall be final and binding on all parties.

Revised 1/15/2014