How did a 18-time convicted felon end up volunteer coaching at the Boys and Girls Club?
SEATTLE — A 18-time felon accused of a brutal attack on a woman during a basketball game at a Boys and Girls Club was a volunteer coach for the organization, club officials said, raising questions about the group’s ability to background check its volunteers.
High-violent offender Marcel Jones, 33, was arrested Monday night after allegedly hitting his ex-girlfriend numerous times during a Boys and Girls Clubs of King County (BGCKC) basketball game in March.
According to the BGCKC and police reports, Jones was at the Rotary Club in Central Seattle at a game when his ex-girlfriend came into the club and talked to him about attending a birthday party. Jones grew upset.
“A conversation takes place whether or not he should attend a birthday party,” said Ret. Det. Myrle Carner. “He refuses to talk to her. She then leaves, goes a little ways away, and all of a sudden bam — she’s getting hit from behind. She gets hit numerous times with a closed fist, knocks her to the ground. And at that point, people try to intervene with no luck.”
Detectives say Jones took off and was not seen from until he was booked into jail on a failure to appear warrant Monday night. His own children were playing in the game.
Jones has previously been convicted of several domestic violence crimes, and has a total of 18 criminal convictions.
The incident raises multiple questions about the Boys and Girls Clubs’ background check policy.
All staff and volunteers are required to undergo a check at the beginning of their tenure, club officials said, and it was unknown how or why Jones passed and was still allowed to coach.
The Boys and Girls Club released the following statement:
Child safety is the Boys & Girls Clubs of King County’s number one priority. We are disappointed to share that safety protocols were broken by a Club volunteer coach on March 29, 2014 at our Rotary Club in Central Seattle. Mr. Jones has been permanently banned from any visits to, or involvement with, the Boys and Girls Clubs of King County. All club staff and volunteers are required to undergo a background check at the beginning of their tenure, with subsequent monthly checks thereafter through our national vendor, Verified Person. Given the fact that statute prohibits background checks going back further than seven years, any possible convictions before 2007 would not and did not show up on Mr. Jones’ background check. BGCKC follows nationally recognized safety protocol in vetting staff and volunteers, have a ZERO tolerance policy for misconduct of any kind and are working hard to ensure that all Club members, staff and surrounding community members are protected.