By Eric Longabardi
The United State Tennis Association (USTA), secretly and quietly launched a program to background check all coaches, officials and others working with child based tennis programs acorss the United States last October. The background check program was begun without any public notice, notification to parents or to the general public at large.
The new program requires anybody over the age of 18 years old attempting to work with the USTA including coaches, officials and others to pass a background check before being allowed to do so.
The action came 8 months after The Enterprise Report was first to report that the USTA had no program in place to detect sex offenders and others with criminal records from being involved with children and involved in its youth tennis sports programs across the country.
The Enterprise Report has obtained a letter sent out by the USTA's Richard Kaufman, a top USTA official in New York last October that alerted people within the association that the new background check program was being put in place. The background check program went into effect January 1, 2011.
The February 2010 Enterprise report exposed the case of a USTA tennis official from California named Stanley Smith. Smith was a longtime USTA match official and routinely worked at children's tennis matches around the country for years. Smith was a longtime registered sex offender from California. He was detected at a national junior USTA tennis tournament in Arizona in late 2009 by parents who became aware of his background from a source familiar with his criminal past.
The Enterprise Report story last February led to a firestorm of debate inside the USTA and around the country as parents, officials and other demanded that the USTA take action to require adults working with children undergo background checks before being allowed to interact with children and other adults. Although the USTA had a small limited background check program in place for its officials and others at the world renown U.S. Open in New York, a nationwide program was not required and backgrounds checks were rare, spotty and very limited across the country.
In September of last year the U.S. Olympic Committee passed a resolution setting up guideline standards for background checks and other safety "best practices" in Olympic sports like tennis, swimming, track and field and others. The organization's action came in the wake of the USTA disclosures. Two months later in April of 2010, "USA Swimming", the primary sanctioning body for competitive swimming in the USA was the subject of prolonged media coverage after ABC News reported it's own investigation into that sport's record of dealing with sexual offenders.
The number of cases and crimes being committed by tennis coaches, officials and other against children is not known, because no national statistics are kept, but instances of crimes against children perpetrated by adults involved in the world of tennis are routinely made public when law enforcement authorities become involved.
In one of the most well known cases ever, the childhood coach of tennis champion Peter Sampras, Dr. Pete Fischer, who helped launch Sampra's career, was later convicted in 1997 of molesting three young boys. Sampras has never accused his former coach of any inappropriate actions.
By Eric Longabardi
This story needs no elaboration. The video speaks for itself.
Nice job Bret, you are a nice guy and a solid journalist.
* Full Disclosure: I worked with Bret before and he never showed this kind of music talent at the Pentagon. He also makes a lot more money now then when we worked together. That said, I hope he has disposed of his Ford Taurus "bondo bomber" that was towed out of the Pentagon parking lot one night in the middle of the U.S. military invasion of Iraq in March of 2003 because of unpaid parking tickets!
By Eric Longabardi
As the year 2010 comes to an end we wanted to let TER readers take the chance to re-read our best stories from this past year. Stories that The Enterprise Report reported first as exclusive original news.
The stories range from our series of exclusive reports on accused Russian arms deal Viktor Bout and his organization of pilot associates using U.S. issued pilot's licenses for decades unchecked, to a long list of family members of Osama Bin Laden on the U.S. no-fly list. We tackled and were first to reveal the strange case of a former NFL quarterback accusations of police brutality that didn't seem to quite pan out. We uncovered crucial missteps by police in trying to keep track of and identify a registered sex offender who would later confess to murdering two young girls near San Diego, CA. We would expose a secret that the USTA, the governing body of tennis in the USA was doing little to stop sexual predators from preying on the sport's youngest players. We exposed Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck (and LA's Mayor) for taking free tickets to pricey events and much more.
TER reports on and cover the news just like any other new organization and media outlet. What we do best and strive to do better than anyone is break original investigative stories. That is what serious quality accurate investigative reporting is all about.
Below is a listing and the direct links to some of our best exclusive investigative reports from this past year. There are a few more that are not included, so please click around our site via our beat sections and see all of our stories. After reading some our top stories of 2010, we think you'll see what we're talking about when it comes original investigative reporting.
Happy New Year from TER.
FEBRUARY 11, 2010
EXCLUSIVE: LAWYERS GONE WILD: A LEGAL DEATH MATCH TOYOTA STYLE