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Ex-referee convicted of nine counts of unlawful sexual conduct

For people who work with children on a regular basis as a career or through a volunteer position, being accused of inappropriate contact with the children can have long-lasting effects. One ex-referee was recently convicted of nine misdemeanor counts of unlawful sexual conduct for his actions while refereeing girls' basketball games.

The 52-year-old was convicted of groping five girls during three games in Jefferson County. A sixth victim was identified, but unable to be located for the man's trial. The incidents of sexual misconduct occurred early in 2013. The girls claimed they first brushed off the touches as unintentional, but when they occurred again, the females started to think something more was going on.

One victim claims the man grabbed her buttocks in the backcourt while another player was making free throw shots. The girls started talking to each other about the "creepy" referee.

Eventually, a father heard the girls talking and contacted the principal about the allegations. One the Jefferson County Public Schools officials learned of the incidents, they stopped using the man as a referee and contacted police.

Prior to the referee's arrest, the Colorado High School Activities Association didn't perform background checks on the 4,000 to 5,000 referees. They didn't know the man had two prior arrests in 1991--one for felony sexual assault that was reduced to misdemeanor assault as a plea deal and one harassment charge. Since this man's arrest, referees have to have arrest background checks done by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation every three years for as long as they continue to referee.

The referee who was convicted of nine counts of misdemeanor unlawful sexual conduct charges is set to be sentenced on Feb. 28. He faces up to two years in jail for each count.

Looking at this case, it is easy to see how much an accusation of sexual crimes can change things since the man faces a significant jail sentence and other people now have to have background checks before working for the association. For anyone who is facing charges of sex crimes, appropriately answering the charges can potentially help to minimize the consequences of the accusations.

Source: The Denver Channel, "Ex-referee, Stephen Amador, convicted of groping girl basketball players during JeffCo games in 2013" Alan Gathright, Jan. 09, 2014

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