Today’s news:

One Less Pervert

TimesLedger Newspapers

From Penn State to Rochdale Village, sexual perverts are casting a pall over sports that is having an impact on coaches, players and parents.

No one would think twice if they saw a coach give one of his players a pat on the behind, but even this innocent gesture of support now raises eyebrows.

Last week, a former Rochdale Village Little League coach pleaded guilty to sexually abusing players on his team. He not only abused the players, but recorded the acts.

David C. Hartshorn, 54, was arrested and charged in February 2011 with sexually abusing three boys, ages 13 and 14, at his home between July 2009 and August 2010 and also engaging two other teenage boys in a sexual act while he filmed them.

In September, he is likely to be sentenced to 18 years in prison and 20 years of supervision after his release. The 54-year-old former coach is currently being held without bail. He will be 92 before he will be allowed to have unsupervised contact with a child.

It’s safe to say he’ll never again be a threat, but how many other men are using team sports to satisfy their needs? Hartshorn looked like a great guy and was once named Rochdale Little League Coach of the Year.

Hartshorn was first arrested more than 20 years ago for endangering the welfare of a child, but pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and performed community service. His name would not have been on any list of sex offenders.

Since 2007, Little League International has required local leagues to conduct a nationwide search of the applicable government sex offender registry data before allowing anyone to coach. The organization provides leagues access to a special Internet site that includes a LexisNexis National Criminal File database.

Rochdale Little League is not to blame for what happened. The league continues to provide a great opportunity for kids in the area to learn baseball. Sadly, perverts continue to abuse their access to children in sports, schools, scouting and church.

Parents have good reason to be alarmed. Greater vigilance is called for, especially on their part. Hopefully, people like Hartshorn will not destroy the relationship young boys have enjoyed for generations with their coaches.

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