Shock waves were sent through the Orlando youth sports community when one of its longest serving coaches was arrested on charges of performing a lewd act in front of one of his athletes.
As reported by the Orlando Sentinel and TV network WFTV, 54-year-old Jeffrey McWhorter was arrested and charged with lewd or lascivious exhibition, performing a lewd act in the presence of a child and two counts of soliciting lewd acts on a child.
While no details have emerged about the age of McWhorter’s alleged victim, the coach was most recently volunteering for the city of Orlando’s public football and basketball leagues. The allegations against him were made in recent days -- no firm date was provided by Orlando police -- and a city spokesman confirmed that McWhorter had been suspended from his role as a city volunteer from the moment of his arrest.
"I'm embarrassed," McWhorter told the Sentinel from the back of a police cruiser en route to the Orange County Jail. "That's what's the main thing about it, because they wouldn't tell me what's going on."
While the most significant concerns about McWhorter’s situation will clearly focus on the abuse itself, others have pointed to broader concerns about the city of Orlando’s screening process for volunteers. While officials claim that it is city policy to perform background checks on all volunteers, McWhorter had two prior charges on his record that should have set off alarms: a 2000 felony conviction for purchase of a controlled drug and a violation of probation following his initial drug arrest.
McWhorter spent a total of 258 days in Orange County jail for those transgressions, yet was still deemed safe to volunteer with Orlando children, a lapse which was all but confirmed when a city spokeswoman told the Sentinel that the city did not have any specific records on Fagan at the time of his arrest.
Clearly, that’s a concern that many will want rectified in the days ahead. In the meantime, police have asked for anyone else with potential complaints related to McWhorter to contact them.