Parents upset after accused child rapist umpired st games
A man under investigation for the alleged rape of a 13-year-old boy umpired a youth baseball tournament in Edmond on Saturday, raising the concern of several parents.
The man filled in as head umpire for Edmond All-Sports, Inc. at Hafer Park Saturday. He was arrested in May 2020 on complaints of first-degree rape and engaging in sexual communication with a minor, according to the Oklahoma County Sheriff ’s Office.
Bond was initially set at $150,000, before being reduced to $55,000 with conditions. The Oklahoman is not naming the man because he has not been charged. Efforts by The Oklahoman to reach the man were not successful.
“We’re aware of the deal with the um
piring, and everything with last summer is under investigation right now,” said Aaron Brilbeck with the Oklahoma County Sherriff ’s Office. “It’s an ongoing investigation.”
Jenifer Standish, whose children play baseball and softball with Edmond All-Sports, said she was startled after discovering the allegations.
Standish questioned Kirk Sparks, assistant director of Edmond All-Sports, via email regarding employee background checks. Sparks replied that the umpire primarily calls games for the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association, and that he covered for the tournament’s usual head empire because of a family emergency.
“His response was pretty horrifying, because I thought for sure he was going to say no,” Standish said. “The league is pretty defensive. I felt they were even defending him, and it made my stomach knot. I was just so disappointed, and I still don’t know how a youth sports organization wouldn’t look out for the best interests of our kids.”
Standish said after she pressed organization staff further, she was told the charges against the man were dropped. The Oklahoma County Sheriff ’s Office, however, told The Oklahoman the investigation is active.
“Charges have not been filed or denied or tried yet,” Standish said. “And I’m just thinking, who is going to protect our kids in the interim?”
Grant Gower, director of officials at Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association, said the umpire signed a third-party contract and is not an OSSAA employee.
“The OSSAA assigns for playoff games, and he has not recently officiated a playoff game,” Gower said. “But for any official, if they meet all of the requirements and are eligible officials and they meet all of the criteria, they could be assigned to run a playoff game. That goes for anyone.”
He also added that OSSAA is aware of the allegations against the man.
“Our policy regarding all of that pertains to background checks and anything that is a conviction,” Gower said.
Standish said her feelings of frustration and anger toward Edmond All-Sports were shared by many parents who’ve been a part of the organization for years.
“It just became readily apparent to me that EASI knew about his arrest, and they were still employing him,” Standish said. “And I understand the whole ‘innocent until proven guilty’ argument. However, with children, he hasn’t been proven either innocent or guilty. I think we’re in an interim period, and that’s what makes this so frustrating. I just think there should be another regulation.”
Staff at Edmond All-Sports, Inc. did not respond to requests seeking comment. EASI has been a contracted partner with the City of Edmond, operating youth sports programs at Hafer and Mitch parks since 2006.
The City of Edmond did acknowledge in an email to Standish on Tuesday that the umpire “will no longer be employed by EASI.”