Titusville felon ousted as youth football coach
A Pop Warner youth football coach has been dismissed after concerns about his volunteer background check prompted a check of court records, revealing more than 10 felony convictions since 1991, the final one in 2003
Stanley Domino Jr. of Titusville, who was serving as the North Brevard Hawks' communications coordinator and Mitey-Mites division coach for about a month, was removed on Wednesday after a review by the national Pop Warner organization.
Some of the convictions include aggravated child abuse, aggravated assault, aggravated stalking, resisting arrest with violence, battery on a law enforcement officer and obtaining property or services illegally.
As of Wednesday morning, Domino had the support of Pop Warner's East Coast Conference, which includes 12 youth football programs stretching from Flagler County south to Palm Bay, and there were no plans to remove him from his posts with the North Brevard league.
That decision was later overturned at Pop Warner headquarters in Langhorne, Pa., on Wednesday afternoon, after the organization was contacted by FLORIDA TODAY. Domino was reached by FLORIDA TODAY, but refused to comment other than to say that he was truthful about his past on application forms and noted his convictions.
Citing confidentiality, Pop Warner would not turn over Domino's application.
"I am surprised," said Hawks commissioner Steve Walter, who received Domino's background application, which is required of all volunteers. "I have the responsibility to make sure the rules are being followed and that we provide a safe environment for our kids. I was made aware of some of his past but as far as I know, everything was dropped."
During the past decade, background checks for youth sports coaches and volunteers has been required by leagues or organizations to protect children from pedophiles, sexual abuse and other offenses committed by adults.
Pop Warner national rules prohibit "any person to participate in any manner, whose background check reveals a conviction for, or guilty plea to, any crime involving or against a minor." The rules also allow leagues to ban volunteers if it deems them unfit to work with children.
East Coast Conference president Chip Miller said he was satisfied Domino had turned his life around and he would not take action to remove him as a Pop Warner volunteer or coach.
"We did conduct a thorough investigation and it wasn't done lightly," Miller said. "He is not a saint, but none of us are, that happened a long time ago and we're satisfied all of this is in the past."
Miller said Pop Warner rules allow leagues some leeway when unusual circumstances arise.
"The rules allow us to reinstate someone if they haven't been in trouble for over five years," he said. "We did a thorough check of his background, and it was a long time ago. The background check we performed turned up that information, we investigated and we're satisfied with his answers."
Conversely, Pop Warner national spokesman Josh Pruce said the organization's rules are clear and must be followed by local leagues.
"We reiterated our national rule to the conference and they were following a Southeastern Regional interpretation," he said. "We told them this wasn't within the spirit of our rule. They were looking to take the rule further than it was intended and the coach has been dismissed from the Pop Warner association."