As a swim mom who also is an attorney concentrating in child advocacy, swim parents and coaches frequently ask me about legal issues within the swimming community, especially issues concerning allegations of sexual abuse. By expanding the coverage of these abuse cases with some legal analysis of the facts of each particular case, we hope to inform and educate our readers about the details and ramifications of the cases.
After posting the story of Chase Panem, the 15 year old swimmer who sexually assaulted a 6 year old child at a pool in Florida, several parents began asking pertinent “what happens after Panem’s conviction and ban for life from USA Swimming?” The following should provide answers to these questions.
As a 15 year old juvenile sexual offender in Florida, Panem was tried and convicted under a statute specifically drafted for persons under 18 who commit a sexual battery (penetration) upon a victim less than 12. Panem received a mandatory minimum 25 years in prison under this Dangerous Sexual Felony Offender Act. When Panem reaches 21, the state will transfer him to an adult center for sexually violent predators where he will serve the remaining term of his sentence. This statute also requires Panem to register as a sex offender, which he has completed.
During his incarceration, Panem will participate in a specialized treatment program to help reduce the risk that he will commit such acts again. According to psychological experts, the goal of sex offender treatment is to reduce recidivism and ensure there are no more victims.
Given Chase Panem’s 25 year sentence, he cannot pose a threat to another child in any situation for many years, if ever. The goal of the system is for Panem to return to the community rehabilitated. To reinforce this goal, he will continue to be a registered sex offender when he exits the system. The USA Swimming ban for life also will remain in place. The effective answer to “what happens?” is that Chase Panem will remain in custody during the prime years of his life and remain forever barred from being in close proximity to any child.
This article is not intended as legal advice and you should seek the advice of an attorney should you have specific legal questions relating to your circumstances.