Little League Coach Charged With Sex Abuse

Tips for avoiding child molesters

By Katy Tur
|  Thursday, Feb 10, 2011  |  Updated 10:02 PM EDT
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How You Can Protect Your Child from Sexual Predators

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How You Can Protect Your Child from Sexual Predators

Sex crime charges against a local baseball coach have parents asking: what can be done to make sure kids stay clear of predators?Katy Tur has more on the accused, and some advice for parents.
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He was once the coach of the year. Now David Hartshorn faces 25 years in prison for allegedly repeatedly molesting three boys ages 13 and 14.

“At least one occasion he’s alleged to show the 13 year child pornography and video tape boys engaged in sexual activity,” according to Queens District Attorney, Richard Brown.
 
Prosecutors say they found a number of child porn videos inside the Rochdale Village Little League coach’s home – some showing boys as young as ten performing sex acts.
 
Edward Harris is a neighbor of Hartshorn, he says kids were always at Hartshorn’s house and that he was “like a big kid with them.”
 
It's exactly that ingratiation that many child molesters use to disarm parents and kids alike, according to Anthony Zenkus of the Coalition Against Child Abuse and Neglect on Long Island.
 
“What we want parents to know is this, the person who harms your child is somebody you probably know and the best way to prevent is to take proactive measures,” said Zenkus.
 
One thing you can do; check the National Child Sex Registry. But not everyone is on the list, as was the case with Hartshorn. He was found guilty in 1989 of two sex crimes involving a minor.
 
“Offenders will pass background checks and if you run any kind of organization that caters to youth or any kind of school offenders will want to work for you,” Zenkus warns. “If they pass a background check they’ll be working around kids.”
 
Zenkus offers three ways parents can minimize the risk of abuse when enrolling kids in class or after school programs like little league.
1.    Ask if the staff has been trained in preventing sex abuse on site.
2.    Make sure your child is never alone in private with the adult.
3.    Be a present parent – the more involved you are in your child’s activities, the less likely your family will be a target.

Hartshorn did not enter a plea on Wednesday. The judge has ordered he be held without bail.

In the United States, the abuse stats are staggering. One out of every four girls and one in every six boys is molested before the age 18, argued Zenkus and most are hurt by someone they know. If you want to get more information about what you can do – CCAN offers training for parents, click below for their info.

Coalition Against Child Abuse and Neglect

Safe Horizon

You can follow Katy on Twitter @katytur4ny

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