Attorney: All Minnesota youth coaches must report abuse

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — An attorney with the state court system says all Minnesota youth coaches are legally required to report incidents of child abuse and neglect.

Ann Ahlstrom, a manager with the state’s Children’s Justice Initiative, tells the Star Tribune coaches are “mandated reporters” regardless of whether they’re paid or affiliated with schools or with youth sports organizations or clubs.

Officials agree coaches affiliated with schools are mandated reporters. But the newspaper reported Thursday there have been conflicting views on whether that holds for volunteer and paid coaches in Minnesota sports clubs and recreational organizations, or whether they count as “voluntary reporters.”

Both mandated and voluntary reporters are protected against retribution for notifying authorities of abuse. But mandated reporters face misdemeanor charges if they withhold information about adults abusing children in their care.