The Oklahoman

Parents upset after accused child rapist umpired st games

- Jessie Christophe­r Smith The Oklahoman

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 filled in as head umpire for Edmond All-Sports, Inc. at Hafer Park Saturday. He was arrested in May 2020 on complaints of first-degree rape and engaging in sexual communicat­ion with a minor, according to the Oklahoma County Sheriff ’s Office.

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. Efforts 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 Office. “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 Office, however, told The Oklahoman the investigat­ion is active.

“Charges have not been filed 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 officials 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 officiated a playoff game,” Gower said. “But for any official, if they meet all of the requiremen­ts and are eligible officials 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.”

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