After abuse scandal, advocacy center hoping to educate community on child abuse

Bernie Fine

The Bernie Fine sex abuse scandal has heightened concerns about child abuse in youth athletic programs.

Now, the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center is hoping to address those concerns. The center will hold a town hall meeting at Onondaga Community College on Thursday evening.

To promote the event, the center introduced two of the panelists who will be on hand. Allison Young, of the Elmcrest Children's Center, and Tim Donovan, of the SUNY Youth Sports Institute, will both be part of the discussion. They say sexual predators will sometimes take advantage of their position as a coach to groom a child into submission.

"The grooming process looks typical in which a relationship is developed with an adult and a child," Young says, "They play upon that natural development of a relationship and then it will go into a coercive one in which they will start offending a child."

Donovan points out the problem can impact more than just the sports world. "It's not necessarily in youth coaching. It's in all aspects of life," he says.

The McMahon/Ryan Center's town hall meeting on preventing child abuse in youth athletics begins at 6:30 Thursday evening at OCC's Storer Auditorium.

You can watch it live from home if you can't make it there. We will be airing the entire town hall on our CNY Central station. You can find it on Time Warner Cable channel 864, Verizon FiOS channel 460, and over the air channel 3.3. The event will also be streaming here on our website,