Whiteside Co. Sex Offenders Coaching Kids - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Whiteside Co. Sex Offenders Coaching Kids

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Police arrest two convicted sex offenders for coaching children's sports teams, but if it's illegal for them to be near parks and groups of children, how were they able to coach in the first place?

The Whiteside County Sheriff's Department investigated 39-year-old Philip J. Plattenberger of Mt Carroll, Ill. and 38-year-old Scott A. Eyrich of Morrison, Ill. for a few months.

Plattenberger was coaching with his children's youth baseball team and Eyrich was coaching his son's youth football team. Both men are now facing charges. But who let these men join as coaches when they shouldn't even be at the games?

Northern Illinois Youth Tackle Football head coach Ron Helfrich said Eyrich started out as an involved parent --

"We invite parents to help out, he started out as a parent helper and he wanted to coach." Helfrich said Eyrich went from parent to coach quickly, but didn't stay on as a coach for very long.

"We run background checks on all of our coaches," he said. Eyrich was only coaching for one or two weeks before organizers found out he'd been convicted of sexually abusing a 7-year-old child.

"We have 700 kids in this program, for something like this to happen, it's an eye opener for our program and I'm glad we caught it," said NIYTF coach, Toby O'Brien.

Helfrich said Eyrich was asked to leave the program --

"We told him immediately he's got to go, right away, and never come back. He's a predator. Not only has he violated children but he makes our league feel as though we've been violated."

When youth football coaches found out that Scott Eyrich was a sexual predator, they wanted him off the field. But when it comes to youth baseball, parents and coaches feel differently about Philip Plattenberger.

"If I had to describe him personally, I would say he's a great dad, a good person and a respectable member of the community. Matt Sanderson is the head coach of the "Mudcats" -- a traveling youth baseball team out of Fulton, Ill.

"I personally hand chose every family on this team with the full knowledge of where they were coming from and how they parented their kids," said Sanderson. He says most parents on the team knew about Plattenberger's sex offender status.

"I did know that he is no longer required to register," he said. "I did not know that there was any law out there that would require somebody that's not registered to not be in the stands when their kid looks up to see if their dad is there."

Sanderson says the team is a family and nobody cared about Plattenberger's past.

"It's very sad to see, when parents are willing to participate in their kids lives," he said. Plattenberger was participating,the problem is, it's illegal.

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