Upon discovering he's a sex offender, groups fire referee
PORTLAND, Ore. - After a KATU News report last week, local groups have told a sex offender refereeing children's games in the Portland area to lay down the whistle.
Stanley Washington served as an official for girls' games in Gresham. Now he's in jail on charges for failing to register as a sex offender. Additionally, his ability to access kids on the court has dramatically changed.
Many refereeing groups do not do background checks so sex offenders can get jobs working kids' games.
Ref Corps, which works with Catholic Youth Organization, is one of those groups that dismissed Washington. On Saturdays kids fill the gyms of schools like All Saints in Northeast Portland and team up for basketball with CYO.
The head of Ref Corps said he did not know that Washington pleaded guilty in 1993 at the age of 32 to Rape II with a girl under 14.
Other groups like HoopSource, PortlandBasketball.com and Oregon Prep Basketball that hired Washington have also dismissed him.
"I think when people offend children that you don't get a second chance to do that. That's how we feel at CYO," said Sister Krista von Borstel.
She said her group has many safeguards in place that include having site officials at each school for games to keep watch, trained team athletic directors and coaches it certifies - giving them background checks and making sure there are always two coaches per team so kids won't be alone with an adult.
"We have to for all practical purposes pretend like everyone could be unsafe to be around, thereby making everyone safe," said Sister Krista.
But refs slipped by. Now Ref Corps will do background checks so kids playing for the Catholic Youth Organization in Portland will have one more layer of protection.
"CYO is all about making great memories for kids. So everything that we can do to make kids safe is going to be a good memory," Sister Krista said.
There is a state group that does background checks for high-school-sports officials but no such unified group for other kids. It's each organization's choice.