A local state lawmaker wants to require background checks for people who serve as umpires or referees hired by the Illinois High School Association. State Representative Dan Beiser of Alton proposed the new rule after a convicted sex offender was arrested last week in Smithton after working as an official for youth games.
50-year-old Dennis Cotton from Swansea was arrested after authorities learned he had worked as an official for baseball and basketball in the Smithton School District. School officials reportedly assumed the IHSA conducts background checks on officials but they are not required to do so. Beiser plans to file legislation that will require the IHSA to conduct background checks and ban anyone who is a sex offender or violent offender from working with youth. The IHSA said it had been looking into the idea but had no immediate plans to implement the change. Beiser’s proposal could come up in Springfield as early as the fall veto session. Cotton was charged with failure to register as a sex offender and unlawful presence in a public park by a child sex offender.