BECKLEY (AP) — Beckley Little League has revised its background check process after discovering that a registered sex offender was a volunteer.
The league barred Albert Aaron Mills, 29, from volunteering within 24 hours of learning that he is listed in the state’s sex offender registry Bill Roop, a member of the organization’s board of directors, told The Register-Herald.
Mills started volunteering after the season began. A background check wasn’t performed because Mills didn’t fill out a volunteer form that’s required at the beginning of the season.
“We found there was a flaw in our process and procedure. Nobody was monitoring. Once we got the coaches, managers, etc., no one went back and followed up at the dugout to check names. We’ve corrected that,” Roop told the newspaper.
Volunteers must fill out a new form each year, regardless of how long they have been volunteering. The forms are given to local law enforcement so background checks can be performed.
Roop said the league has implemented random checks to ensure all volunteers fill out the form and that their backgrounds are checked. The coach who allowed Mills to volunteer without checking his past has been sanctioned.
Mills was convicted in Florida of lewd and lascivious battery against a victim between the ages of 6 and 12 in 2004. He served six years, nine months in a correctional facility and remains on probation, according to the sex offender registry.
Roop said Mills had assisted 7-year-olds and 8-year-olds during several PONY league practices and umpired during one of the games.
An internal investigation conducted by the league found that Mills was never alone with any of the children, Roop said.
“Me, as a parent, I sure do not want a sexual predator around my children. There’s so many different opportunities that you’ve got — practice, games, you just have a lot of interaction,” he said.
State Police Cpl. R.A. Daniel said Mills has since moved and registered in another county as a sex offender.
Roop said about 1,000 boys and girls participate in Little League’s baseball and softball programs in Beckley.
“It takes a lot of wonderful volunteers to make the project work. Beckley Little League is one of, if not the only, Little League that does not require you to pay anything to participate in baseball or softball.”