Organization sanctioning umpires is making changes - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Organization sanctioning umpires is making changes

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A Hueytown man is in jail accused of sexually abusing a teenage girl. The news comes one day after a parent spotted a convicted sex offender umpiring a girl's softball game.

Although the cases are different, Hueytown residents are concerned.

Hueytown Police have charged 57-year-old Thomas Brown with rape, sodomy and sexual abuse of a teenage girl. Police say the abuse happened over a period of years. They aren't releasing many details to protect the victim. Right now, he's in the Jefferson County jail under a 135-thousand-dollar bond.

It's news people are surprised to hear after the arrest of a Hueytown umpire, which is now prompting an organization to make changes.

Lisa Howell says, "It's very disturbing to me."

The news of Thomas Brown's arrest comes one day after ABC 33/40 told you about an umpire's arrest.

A parent spotted Fred Allen Thomas the third, a convicted sex offender, umpiring at Allison Bonnet Park.

USSSA has been booking umpires without doing background checks.

Traci Franklin, a parent whose daughter plays softball at the park says, "We always felt like it was safe, but to think the umpire's didn't have to was off the radar."

USSSA State Director, David Gregory, told ABC 33/40 that all 600 umpires in Alabama will now have a background check. He says there's never been an issue like this before that the organization has been aware of. However, he says the organization is going to make changes.

Franklin says, "This could be going on right now in another community. That's why we want to spread the word to let them know hey, we got to start doing something else to make sure your umpires are also allowed to be on the field.

We could not reach anyone in the national office to find out why background checks have not been done in the past. Gregory says a lot of sanctioning bodies don't make background checks. He hopes that will change across the board.

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