CHICAGO – A man convicted in the 1988 murder of a Hegewisch police officer was discovered to be coaching youth baseball with the local Babe Ruth League after passing a background check.
Dean Chavez served a prison sentence of 11 years for his involvement in the murder of John Mathews where a baseball bat was the murder weapon.
“The fact is a man who killed another man using a baseball bat is coaching kids to swing a baseball bat. It boggles the mind,” said Joey Mathews, the victim’s son.
People are now wondering how a man with a felony conviction of murder ended up passing his background check and is now coaching children. According to Mathews, the league did not conduct a proper background check due to the restrictions of its current bylaws. The league’s bylaws for disqualification state that a person will be barred from volunteering or coaching only if they have a sexual offense conviction or an offense against a minor. This type of policy leaves room for people with dangerous pasts, like Chavez, to pass a background check and gain access to children.
Based on the National Recreation and Park Association standards, Chavez would have been ineligible for coaching due to a felony violence conviction which disqualifies a volunteer, regardless of the amount of time since the crime was committed. By omitting this type of disqualification, children and community members are put at risk.
Joey Mathews and his mother Anne have made several attempts to contact the league once they learned of Chavez’s involvement and are currently petitioning for a change to the league’s bylaws.