Former Assistant Coach Brendan Phelps of the NAHL’s Minnesota Wilderness team will not face criminal charges regarding a YouTube video of him involved in a sting operation that surfaced in July. The video itself has since been removed by YouTube under a “Bullying” guideline which really just amounts to modern day censorship.
The 609.352, a Minnesota statute explains that solicitation of children for sexual conduct and sending sexually explicit materials to children is prohibited. The first line in Subdivision 1 defines a “child” as someone who is 15 years old or younger.
Phelps was communicating with an individual who was allegedly 16. And that one simple mistake of the would be predator catchers is enough to keep Phelps from being charged.
A Brown County Attorney said the video evidence provided by The Midwest Predator Catchers does not indicate Phelps committed a crime.
So there you have it. As predicted, based on the age of consent law in Minnesota, Phelps can go back to his life, or what’s left of it.
Can he coach again? Without some kind of charges or conviction, he can in theory coach again. While in practice it is unlikely anyone would hire him again.
The real question now is, how will Minnesota lawmakers react? Will the laws be changed? Or will Minnesota be seen as a safe haven for people with these tendencies?
In theory, if Phelps were denied a coaching position based on these actions he would be able to pursue a discrimination case against who ever made a denial. Is this the kind of thing we want to allow to happen?
Gay people, are in sports everywhere. Everyone knows it, and not many people really care. But people pursuing children are not in sports everywhere, and everyone does actually care about that.
When a coach is denied the ability to coach kids because he got caught with a joint thirty years ago in high school, but nothing can be done to keep a potential predator from coaching there is a problem with the system.
What is USA Hockey going to do with this one?