Magic the Gathering players struggling to weed out sex offenders

Magic The Gathering concerns

EL PASO, Texas - An international card game is under fire after allegations of failing to conduct background checks on judges and vendors, allegedly resulting in minors being exposed to child sex offenders.

"Unfortunately, it's something that's been brought to light and it should have been brought to light before this scandal, it's something they should have taken care of a long time ago," says Game Vault owner Lyndi Barnard.

The game is called "Magic the Gathering" and it's played by people of all ages here in the Borderland. Some gamers were shocked when they heard the game is allegedly being infiltrated by convicted sex offenders.

"As a player and someone who has judged tournaments and stuff like that I never knew about it, never heard about it, I guess that's why it was never really talked about," says Coary Barnard. 

Investigative journalist Lou Colagiovanni says a Wisconsin registered sex offender convicted of second degree assault on a child was caught violating his parole in January. He was playing at a sanctioned Magic the Gathering tournament with a 16 year old boy.

Patrons of local game stores here in the Borderland are not worried about coming into contact with sex offenders while playing Magic the Gathering, since every company we spoke with already did background checks.

"For 20 years now we have been one of the safest cities. That's why I'm glad to be here, because of that. We've been ahead of the game for years now when it comes to safety. That's why coming here I never had to worry or fear because El Paso is already ahead of the game on that one, it's been ahead of the game forever now," says local gamer and father Ray Gomez.

The people who run Magic the Gathering tournaments are now requiring organizers to do background checks to make sure judges are not sex offenders. They did not say say how they will make sure organizers comply.

Editor’s note: This story has been amended to match KVIA’s broadcast story.

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