Debate rises over registered sex offender coaching junior football

SEDGWICK, Kansas – Can registered sex offenders coach your child?

Last week, KSN brought you the story of the state of Kansas not offering enough money to cover background check for everyone working at a school. In the process of covering that story, KSN uncovered concerns about sex offenders that could be coaching your children.

The question for parents — if there is a registered sex offender interacting with kids, should all the parents know about his past?

The private Mid-States Junior Football League became the focus of KSN’s investigation after a parent from the town of Sedgwick asked us to take a closer look.

“If he’s around children, yes, I think the parents should be aware,” said Aimee Baker, the concerned parent.

Baker says she recently found out that Layne Schroeder, a registered sex offender, has been coaching the Mid States Little League Football team in Sedgwick. She says she is frustrated because she had not heard about it before.

“Because the safety of those children is in the coach’s hands,” said Baker.

Schroeder was convicted of unlawful sexual relations with a 17-year-old girl. As a sex offender, Schroeder has to register where he lives so parents and neighbors know he is in the area.

“Personal opinion, he should not be around kids,” said Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton.

Sheriff Walton says Schroeder has been a model citizen since being placed on the sex offender list, but he wonders if sex offenders of any kind should be coaching kids.

“Pretty much you are setting someone up to fail if you are putting them back with children,” said Walton.

Walton says there is nothing in Kansas law keeping Schroeder from volunteering as an assistant coach in a private league.
“Legally, it would have to go back to the sport, or whoever sanctions the sport, what their rules are,” said Walton.

KSN did some research and found those on the sex offender registration can have contact with kids unless a judge deems them likely to re-offend. In that case, a judge can make a rule in each individual case that dictates no contact with children at all.

Layne Schroeder KBI Sex Offender Registry page
KBI’s Sex Offender Registry page for Layne Schroeder

KSN went to the president of the Mid-States Junior Football League, Darrin Regier, and asked what their rules are on a registered sex offenders being assistant coaches.

“Now, we have not been notified by any town that there is a registered sex offender on the coaching staff, as far as a league standpoint. So this is basically news to us,” said Regier.

Regier says he does not know of any private children’s sports league in the area that do background checks but he says his league will now ask each team to start looking into the backgrounds of coaches, following our KSN investigation.

KSN did talk with one of the board members of the individual team located in Sedgwick and that board member said they know Layne and are okay with him coaching.

Still some parents say even though there are individual boards governing each team in each town, they still say they are not comfortable with a registered sex offender coaching kids.

“It’s a matter of safety. I think parents have every right to know the coach or assistant coach, or a teacher or even a janitor,” said Baker, the parent that raised concern.

We asked lawmakers, what rules apply and if there is anything keeping a registered sex offender from coaching and having contact with kids.

State Representative Jim Ward explained that Kansas has what is considered a two-tier system for sex offenders.

One is considered a more hardcore offender or someone who would be deemed a sex pedophile and that person would not be allowed any contact with kids.

The second tier is a sex offender or someone who has broken the law but is not considered a high risk to reoffend.

KSN reached out several times to Schroeder, the main focus of our investigation, but he declined to comment.

RELATED LINKS: 
Layne Schroeder’s KBI Registered Sex Offender page
Search the KBI’s Registered Sex Offender Database (Must agree to the search conditions)

Full text of Kansas Statutes: 
Kansas Statute Article 21-5512 – Unlawful Sexual Relations
Kansas Statute 22 – Offender Registration
Kansas Statute Article 55 – Sex Offenses