Does MSHSL or Mn Hockey have such a list of banned coaches

Discussion of Minnesota Girls High School Hockey

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greybeard58
Posts: 1942
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 11:40 pm

Coaching website tries to shift conversation

Post by greybeard58 » Sat Dec 22, 2018 7:04 am

Coaching website tries to shift conversation about sex abuse

In this Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, photograph, former pro moguls skier Bill Kerig is shown in Colorado Springs, Colo. Kerig has started a new website called Greatcoach.com to give coaches, parents and athletes a platform to discuss the merits of various coaches. (Eddie Pells/Associated Press)
By Eddie Pells | AP December 19
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — It’s one task to compile a list of banned coaches, quite another to identify all the good ones.

While Olympic overseers struggle to compile a comprehensive list of bad actors in the wake of a wide-ranging sex-abuse crisis, an entrepreneur with a passion for youth sports is embarking on what could prove to be an even more meaningful task: helping families discover which coaches are not only certified, but best qualified to work with their kids.

Former pro moguls skier Bill Kerig, who founded the rallyme.com website built to help athletes and teams raise funds, is launching a new platform designed for coaches to post their qualifications, for parents and athletes to review the coaches, and for anyone interested to hold a no-holds-barred discussion of the good and bad in youth sports — sort of a LinkedIn, Angie’s List or Rate My Professors for coaching and sports.

The website, greatcoach.com , represents a rare attempt at a concrete solution in the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal, which, almost daily, exposes the shortcomings in the U.S. Olympic system’s ability to confront the crisis .

Unlike RallyMe — which has helped Katie Uhlaender, Jaelin Kauf, Brittany Bowe and dozens of others on their road to the Olympics — the coaching website figures to be layered with more complex issues. Kerig has been developing the site for about 18 months. He’s in negotiations with nine of the country’s 50 national governing bodies and has been consulting with the U.S. Olympic Committee, which has been pushed to find bold solutions to the sex-abuse crisis beyond turning over staff and decertifying USA Gymnastics.

“Youth sports is largely built on trust, and one of the first steps for any parent is, you’ve got to know who’s coaching your kids,” Kerig says. “If you’re dropping your kid off and you don’t know the coach’s last name or what their certifications are, then shame on you. You want to know why he coaches, how he coaches, what’s his philosophy. And is he certified?”

For Kerig’s website to have impact at the highest levels, he’ll need buy-in from a significant portion of the Olympic community.

“By the same token, even if one club puts all their coaches on there and a parent can go on and say, ‘Look at how much I can learn about who might coach my kid,’ then it’s an obvious place to start,” says John O’Sullivan, the founder of the Changing the Game Project who is on the Great Coach board of directors.

For the past year, the challenges in compiling a comprehensive banned list for Olympic sports have been well-documented. The U.S. Center for SafeSport, created by the USOC in response to the sex-abuse crisis, has a “disciplinary records” list but only names people who have been banned since the center opened in March 2017. The NGBs have banned lists, but policies vary wildly about which offenders go on the lists and whether those lists are made public.

Both the USOC and SafeSport have vowed to compile and publish a comprehensive list as soon as possible.

Kerig is working to make his website a one-stop spot for banned lists, as well.

But simply publishing those lists doesn’t solve all problems. They don’t catch everything — for instance, not all background checks pick up incidents of sexual misconduct. And, of course, the absence of someone’s name from a banned list doesn’t, by itself, make that person qualified to coach.

“This is a big challenge — how do you verify whether someone is worthy of being trusted with your kid?” said Dan Hill, spokesman for SafeSport.

Two years ago, Kerig sold RallyMe to Sports Engine, a community-based sports website that is now owned by NBC.

Kerig, who coaches youth hockey, said even before the sex-abuse crisis hit Olympic sports, he sensed a void when it came to tools that could be used to vet coaches. A few months after Kerig began his project, Nassar victims testified in the sentencing hearing for the former Michigan State doctor, who also served as a volunteer physician for USA Gymnastics.

Those testimonials brought voice to the depth of Nassar’s crimes, and shined a light on the scope of the problem. Virtually the entire senior staff at the USOC has turned over since then, and the new leadership has called for the decertification of USA Gymnastics. Congress is holding hearings and considering changes in the law that governs the USOC and the sports it oversees.

Despite these moves, there remains a search for a grassroots solution to curbing sex abuse in sports.

“One of the ramifications of the Nassar thing was that ... every coach is now going to start as a suspect,” Kerig said. “And we’re saying ‘No, let’s build this community and let’s try to change this conversation.’”


Possible solution? Coaching website tries to shift conversation about sex abuse in sports

https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/o ... story.html

Puckguy19
Posts: 577
Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 9:01 am

Re: Does MSHSL or Mn Hockey have such a list of banned coaches

Post by Puckguy19 » Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:31 pm

elliott70 wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 1:45 pm
Minnesota Hockey spends a lot of money on background checks with an outside agency that is extensive.

Of course, if a person has never ben caught or is doing something for the first time; that is impossible to catch up front.

I don't know what USAH the Olympic committee or other states do in the is regard with their hockey program, but MH throws a vast net over coaches, refs, and others t protect the kids in their programs.
There are a few instances in this thread that indicate that may not be the case. I would never cast the aspersion of ill intent, but maybe not as thorough as we would hope when dealing with the protection of our youth.

Maybe we need to be spending more money so that the outside agencies search is exhaustive, not just extensive. One instance, that could be avoided, is one to many. Zero tolerance must be the presumptive standard, as coaching, reffing, or being in the arena are privileges, not rights.

greybeard58
Posts: 1942
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 11:40 pm

Re: Does MSHSL or Mn Hockey have such a list of banned coaches

Post by greybeard58 » Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:00 pm

The following articles do not mention hockey yet they demonstrate how NGBs (National Governing Bodies), USOC and Safesport handle this important issue.

Earlier articles in this thread explained how some sports organizations failed to report sexual abuse, harassment, substance abuse, and domestic violence to the proper authorities, and as a result, these actions would not show on backround checks. The first article below deals with Safesport. The second outlines how the USOC and USA Gymnastics organizations dealt with Dr. Larry Nasser.

The shameful part is that most people think these organizations put youth safety first, however, in reality these organizations are more concerned with victories, medals, and protecting their image. The lawyers hired by the organizations are there to protect their clients not the athletes.

Given the nationwide problems with Safesport and background screenings, would athletes be better served by two completely separate committees at Minnesota Hockey, each with their own unique membership including an outside perspective? Would athletes have greater protection if a searchable online database allowed parents to review which coaches and staff had background screening issues, which ones had been suspended, put on probation, or whose screening issues were forgiven by the organization?

What other ways could hockey improve transparency while protecting athletes?

Jean Lopez able to coach taekwondo again after arbitrator lifts ban for sexual misconduct
Nancy Armour and Rachel Axon, USA TODAY Published 7:08 p.m. ET Jan. 8, 2019 | Updated 8:06 p.m. ET Jan. 8, 2019
An arbitrator has overturned a ban on taekwondo coach Jean Lopez, setting aside the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s finding that he’d violated its code of conduct for what it called a “decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct.”
The decision Tuesday reinstates Lopez and allows him to resume coaching after SafeSport had declared him permanently ineligible in April. A procedural issue reduced that ban to temporary restrictions in August.
“He’s happy,” attorney Howard Jacobs told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday evening. “He’s said all along that the allegations were false. He can get back to coaching now. That’s a good development.”

Heidi Gilbert, one of the women who accused Lopez of sexual abuse, disagreed.
"We’ve been guinea pigs through this whole process. SafeSport really hasn’t had it together," Gilbert told USA TODAY Sports. "I really hope that, in the future, this doesn’t happen to other athletes who speak up. This is ultimately why people don’t talk.

"People say, 'I’m scared to speak up.' This is why. It's sad the (U.S. Olympic Committee) and SafeSport have done this to us."
The reasoning for the arbitrator's decision wasn't immediately known. But when a ban against Lopez's brother, two-time Olympic champion Steven Lopez, was lifted last month, the arbitrator cited the absence of the reporting party as a reason for his decision to overturn the sanction. That ban also had been issued for sexual misconduct.
SafeSport only brought one investigator to that hearing while Steven Lopez’s sister, Diana, was among several who testified.
SafeSport had asked Gilbert and the other women who'd accused Jean Lopez to testify during the arbitration hearing, but their attorney declined. They were already going to be deposed as part of a civil lawsuit against the Lopez brothers, USOC, USA Taekwondo and SafeSport, and attorney Stephen Estey said he didn't want them traumatized by having to testify multiple times.
SafeSport’s rules for arbitration do not require reporting parties to participate in the appeal process. If they do, they do not have to appear in person or provide live testimony.
The women had given SafeSport verbal accounts of their allegations against Jean Lopez, and also offered to provide written declarations that could be used in arbitration. Estey said he also told SafeSport that it should depose the women as part of the lawsuit, and use that during the arbitration hearing.
"They chose not to take me up on that offer," Estey said. "I don’t want to re-traumatize rape victims If have the opportunity to do it all once."
SafeSport declined to comment, citing a desire "to protect the integrity of the process and the privacy of those involved." But it said it uses a "trauma-informed approach to accommodate witnesses."

Of the 365 decisions SafeSport has issued since it opened in March 2017, 11 have gone to arbitration. Only three have been overturned, but the last two – both involving the Lopez brothers – came in the last month.

USA Taekwondo began investigating the Lopez brothers for sexual misconduct in 2015. Despite that, they were still allowed to go to the Rio Olympics – Steven as a competitor and Jean as his coach. Their cases were turned over to SafeSport when it opened in March 2017, and Jean Lopez was sanctioned 13 months later for sexual misconduct and sexual misconduct involving a minor.
SafeSport found he had assaulted Gilbert, Mandy Meloon and a third woman with whom he had also engaged in a consensual sexual relationship with starting when she was 17.
Meloon first filed a complaint with USA Taekwondo in 2006 that Jean Lopez had sexually assaulted her at a tournament in 1997. She was 16 at the time. While USA Taekwondo dismissed her claim at the time, SafeSport’s investigation found it to have merit.
“This matter concerns a decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct by an older athlete/coach abusing his power to groom, manipulate and, ultimately, sexually abuse younger female athletes,” SafeSport said in its April decision, which was obtained by USA TODAY Sports.
“Given the number of incidents reported over a span of several years and by multiple reporting parties, most of whom have no reasonable motive to fabricate an allegation – much less multiple, distinct incidents – of misconduct, the totality of the circumstances clearly shows a recurrent pattern of behavior on the part of Jean."
Lopez has denied the allegations of sexual misconduct, both in interviews with SafeSport and in June 2017 with USA TODAY Sports.
“I’ve never been inappropriate with anyone,” Lopez told USA TODAY Sports.
Meloon and Gilbert were among three women who spoke with USA TODAY Sports in June 2017 and described sexual misconduct by Jean Lopez dating back to 1997. The third woman who spoke with USA TODAY Sports is Gabriela Joslin and is not the same as the third woman in the SafeSport case.
Joslin has since come forward publicly and is among the group of five women involved in the civil lawsuit.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/2 ... 518649002/

Another article same subject more detail.
http://www.ocregister.com/survivors-u-s ... nstatement

greybeard58
Posts: 1942
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 11:40 pm

Congress must cure a sick Olympic culture.

Post by greybeard58 » Wed Jan 16, 2019 1:55 pm

Larry Nassar was just a symptom. Congress must cure a sick Olympic culture.
December 20, 2018

Imagine your daughter had a physical talent, a baffling, inimitable wildflower gift beyond your understanding. Suppose you entrusted her to the U.S. Olympic Committee to help explore that gift. In exchange, USOC officials demanded the rights to her commercial likeness, used her performances to make millions of dollars for themselves, and carelessly allowed her to be sexually preyed on. And then claimed any harm to her wasn’t their responsibility.
They took credit for the gold medals that came from that body, but none of the blame for the scars left on it. How would you feel?
No one at the USOC seems to understand how their behavior looks to the rest of us. Should any parent feel comfortable entrusting their child to the USOC going forward?
“Absolutely not,” said Rachael Denhollander, who led the child molestation case against gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar. “There is no way I would put my child in there.”
USOC officials keep trying to move on briskly from the Nassar scandal. They don’t seem to hear how offensive their brightly inane statements about the future are with so much reparation left unfinished. They certainly don’t seem to understand that what parents and victims really need from the USOC is not more containment strategy. Fortunately, Congressional overseers such as Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) are determined to continue the hard investigating that the USOC would like to see end.
[Senators refer ex-USOC chief Scott Blackmun to Dept. of Justice for possible investigation]

The USOC hoped that last week’s devastating report from the law firm Ropes & Gray was a conclusion, the last chapter of its sexual abuse scandal. It’s merely a good start. The report not only detailed how Nassar’s crimes were enabled and covered up by top officials, it described a pervasive culture in which abusers flourished across multiple sports over years without the USOC taking any significant action.
“They just didn’t respond in any kind of responsible manner,” DeGette said. “What that report showed us was that the gymnastics abuse wasn’t the first time it’s happened in this decade.”

In January, DeGette will become the head of the Oversight and Investigations sub-committee of the House Energy and Commerce committee, which is responsible for USOC oversight. DeGette has spent 22 years on the panel, and what’s more, she’s a Coloradan, so she is well-versed in the USOC’s platitudes and has watched its inaction up close. Including its failure to fund SafeSport, the body that is supposed deal with sexual abuse.

A few months ago, DeGette personally visited the SafeSport offices and saw for herself the inadequate staff, swamped with a “huge number” of abuse complaints — more, she says, than they can handle. “I want to investigate how they plan to implement changes,” she says.

She also wants documents. Thus far, only Ropes & Gray has deeply examined the internal communications that show when USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun learned from USA Gymnastics chief executive Steve Penny that the national team doctor was a probably a child molester, and how they responded.

“We need documents about when the USOC and USA Gymnastics officials knew what was going on, and what they did, and what the internal memos were,” DeGette said. “So, we will be requesting those, and if they aren’t forthcoming, we will subpoena them.”
DeGette is not the only lawmaker who wants answers. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) have asked the Department of Justice for a criminal investigation into whether Blackmun lied to Congress. The FBI is conducting an internal inquiry into its own inaction. Hopefully those will be fully public, so that parents and athletes get the answers to vital questions that still plague them.

We know that Nassar was enabled by officialdom. “Now ask ‘Why,’ ” Denhollander said.
Why did USOC and USAG officials purposely perpetrate a false narrative and allow Nassar to retire with plaudits in September 2015, even after they knew Olympic gymnasts had credibly accused him of sexually assaulting them? Thus, Nassar was able to continue to access victims at training gyms, high schools. Attorney John Manly represents one child who was 11.

“She went to Nassar for another year,” he said. “They never called anybody.”
They stayed silent when Nassar announced he would run for a local school board.
They stayed silent when they knew USA Gymnastics was regularly referring more young athletes to him.

“I feel like I have indirectly been put in a position where I may have recommended that a parent put their child in harm’s way,” a USA Gymnastics program director wrote in an aghast email when Nassar was exposed.
[USOC, USA Gymnastics did not protect athletes after Larry Nassar complaints, report shows]

Why did the FBI and Indianapolis police aid and abet that silence? Why did they fail so utterly to investigate Nassar or properly interview any witnesses? Why did they accept Penny’s favors, and texts, emails, and requests for confidentiality?
“Why?” Denhollander asks. “Is it lazy, is it self-protection, is it money? Are there people profiting? Is there child porn? What is the motivation, and why were they keeping quiet? There had to be some level of buy-in. I suspect when you find the motivation, you’ll find a lot more corruption.”

Why, to date, has no one ever executed so much as a search warrant on USA Gymnastics and the USOC?

Why has there never been a broad, multi-jurisdictional federal investigation into these crimes against hundreds of children, in which the cover-up spanned from Indianapolis to Colorado Springs to Los Angeles?
Is it because little girls are not important? Because it was sports, and therefore trivial? Because all women athletes should expect some level of abuse in a man’s world?

Because million-dollar-salaried Olympic officials, with the initials U.S. in front of their names, and political connections, got preferential treatment over abused girls like Jordyn Wieber, who made just $800 a month for bringing home gold medals?
“This is a country club-white shoe culture, in which these men were making millions a year,” Manly said. “More than the Joint Chiefs of Staff combined. That’s an obscenity. It’s a culture of entitlement and moral indifference.”
Why? Until the whys are answered, the USOC cannot and should not be allowed to move on.
“It was never just about Larry Nassar, and that’s what so many people have missed,” Denhollander said. “Larry became the story because of what happened at his sentencing and because he had so many victims. But Larry is not the story. Larry is just a symptom.”
For more by Sally Jenkins, visit washingtonpost.com/jenkins.

Larry Nassar was just a symptom. Congress must cure a sick Olympic culture.
With the predatory doctor in jail, we need to be asking hard questions of those who failed to stop him.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/o ... story.html

greybeard58
Posts: 1942
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 11:40 pm

An arbitrator has overturned a ban on taekwondo coach

Post by greybeard58 » Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:37 pm

Different sport but concerns Safesport rulings and actions.
Jean Lopez able to coach taekwondo again after arbitrator lifts ban for sexual misconduct
Nancy Armour and Rachel Axon, USA TODAY Published 7:08 p.m. ET Jan. 8, 2019 | Updated 8:06 p.m. ET Jan. 8, 2019

An arbitrator has overturned a ban on taekwondo coach Jean Lopez, setting aside the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s finding that he’d violated its code of conduct for what it called a “decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct.”

The decision Tuesday reinstates Lopez and allows him to resume coaching after SafeSport had declared him permanently ineligible in April. A procedural issue reduced that ban to temporary restrictions in August.

“He’s happy,” attorney Howard Jacobs told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday evening. “He’s said all along that the allegations were false. He can get back to coaching now. That’s a good development.”

Heidi Gilbert, one of the women who accused Lopez of sexual abuse, disagreed.

"We’ve been guinea pigs through this whole process. SafeSport really hasn’t had it together," Gilbert told USA TODAY Sports. "I really hope that, in the future, this doesn’t happen to other athletes who speak up. This is ultimately why people don’t talk.

"People say, 'I’m scared to speak up.' This is why. It's sad the (U.S. Olympic Committee) and SafeSport have done this to us."

The reasoning for the arbitrator's decision wasn't immediately known. But when a ban against Lopez's brother, two-time Olympic champion Steven Lopez, was lifted last month, the arbitrator cited the absence of the reporting party as a reason for his decision to overturn the sanction. That ban also had been issued for sexual misconduct.

SafeSport only brought one investigator to that hearing while Steven Lopez’s sister, Diana, was among several who testified.

SafeSport had asked Gilbert and the other women who'd accused Jean Lopez to testify during the arbitration hearing, but their attorney declined. They were already going to be deposed as part of a civil lawsuit against the Lopez brothers, USOC, USA Taekwondo and SafeSport, and attorney Stephen Estey said he didn't want them traumatized by having to testify multiple times.

SafeSport’s rules for arbitration do not require reporting parties to participate in the appeal process. If they do, they do not have to appear in person or provide live testimony.

The women had given SafeSport verbal accounts of their allegations against Jean Lopez, and also offered to provide written declarations that could be used in arbitration. Estey said he also told SafeSport that it should depose the women as part of the lawsuit, and use that during the arbitration hearing.

"They chose not to take me up on that offer," Estey said. "I don’t want to re-traumatize rape victims If have the opportunity to do it all once."

SafeSport declined to comment, citing a desire "to protect the integrity of the process and the privacy of those involved." But it said it uses a "trauma-informed approach to accommodate witnesses."

Of the 365 decisions SafeSport has issued since it opened in March 2017, 11 have gone to arbitration. Only three have been overturned, but the last two – both involving the Lopez brothers – came in the last month.

USA Taekwondo began investigating the Lopez brothers for sexual misconduct in 2015. Despite that, they were still allowed to go to the Rio Olympics – Steven as a competitor and Jean as his coach. Their cases were turned over to SafeSport when it opened in March 2017, and Jean Lopez was sanctioned 13 months later for sexual misconduct and sexual misconduct involving a minor.

SafeSport found he had assaulted Gilbert, Mandy Meloon and a third woman with whom he had also engaged in a consensual sexual relationship with starting when she was 17.

Meloon first filed a complaint with USA Taekwondo in 2006 that Jean Lopez had sexually assaulted her at a tournament in 1997. She was 16 at the time. While USA Taekwondo dismissed her claim at the time, SafeSport’s investigation found it to have merit.

“This matter concerns a decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct by an older athlete/coach abusing his power to groom, manipulate and, ultimately, sexually abuse younger female athletes,” SafeSport said in its April decision, which was obtained by USA TODAY Sports.

“Given the number of incidents reported over a span of several years and by multiple reporting parties, most of whom have no reasonable motive to fabricate an allegation – much less multiple, distinct incidents – of misconduct, the totality of the circumstances clearly shows a recurrent pattern of behavior on the part of Jean."

Lopez has denied the allegations of sexual misconduct, both in interviews with SafeSport and in June 2017 with USA TODAY Sports.

“I’ve never been inappropriate with anyone,” Lopez told USA TODAY Sports.

Meloon and Gilbert were among three women who spoke with USA TODAY Sports in June 2017 and described sexual misconduct by Jean Lopez dating back to 1997. The third woman who spoke with USA TODAY Sports is Gabriela Joslin and is not the same as the third woman in the SafeSport case.

Joslin has since come forward publicly and is among the group of five women involved in the civil lawsuit.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/2 ... 518649002/

greybeard58
Posts: 1942
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 11:40 pm

article concerning safe sport

Post by greybeard58 » Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:09 am

You will need to use the link to access the letter sent to the Senator

https://deadspin.com/senator-boasts-abo ... 1832440593
When Congress authorized the U.S. Center for SafeSport, it decided to not directly fund the organization that was supposed to independently investigate sexual abuse across all Olympic sports. Instead, it set up a grant—which, it turns out, couldn’t be used to pay for the investigators that SafeSport needs. That meant money for those jobs would have to come from either the U.S. Olympic Committee or other national sports organizations, many of which also are groups from which SafeSport is supposed to act independently. It’s a pretty massive and obvious conflict of interest.

SafeSport, The USOC's Attempt To Stop Child Abuse, Is Set Up To Fail—Just Like It Was Supposed To
As he was questioned by lawyers in 2015 over and over again about what he did and did not know…

But this doesn’t seem to bother Congress. Instead, at least one U.S. senator thinks deepening the conflict of interest is progress. Last month, Sen. Chuck Grassley sent a letter to the USOC asking for an update on what had been done since the congressional hearings into sexual abuse within the Olympic movement. The response came this week from a lawyer for the USOC from high-profile Washington law firm Covington and Burling.

The letter to Grassley, signed by lawyer Brian D. Smith, says the USOC plans to increase the money it gives to SafeSport from $3.1 million last year to $6.2 million this year. The Iowa Republican’s office announced this with a press release that included a quote from Grassley saying, “The U.S. Olympic Committee’s plan to provide additional resources to the Center for SafeSport demonstrates that it is taking claims of abuse and misconduct more seriously.” That’s really something considering that last month the USOC’s CEO, Sarah Hirschland, told the New York Times about SafeSport, “Funding is not the issue; it’s capacity and growth rate.”
So, in summary: Funding is not an issue, until a U.S. senator says it is an issue, but the money will come from the organization that SafeSport is supposed to independently watch over, but everyone still swears that SafeSport is independent.

The letter uses familiar language from previous USOC scandals. They will host an athlete town hall. They are doing more background checks. And they are creating a commission “to study and report on the manner in which the Olympic Committee engages with national governing bodies and athletes.” Because what the Olympic movement really needed was another commission.
The full letter to Grassley is below:

https://deadspin.com/senator-boasts-abo ... 1832440593

greybeard58
Posts: 1942
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 11:40 pm

USOC and Safe sport

Post by greybeard58 » Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:13 am

You will need to use the links to access screen shots and for the complete article
https://deadspin.com/safesport-the-usoc ... 1826279217
As he was questioned by lawyers in 2015 over and over again about what he did and did not know about sexual abuse suffered by Olympic athletes, then-U.S. Olympic Committee lawyer Gary Johansen made a choice. No matter the question, no matter which lawyer asked it, Johansen did not say “child abuse,” he did not say “sexual assault,” and he did not say “rape.” What he did say, over and over again in his deposition, was “SafeSport.” The USOC, he said each time, wasn’t responding to a crisis of rampant sex abuse. No, he said, these were “SafeSport issues.”
The choice of the phrase stands out. It is, for one thing, a pleasant-sounding euphemism for a horrible set of acts. It is, for another, a phrase the USOC trademarked in 2012, before it took serious steps toward opening an “independent” arm to investigate sex abuse, before the latest round of Congressional hearings, and before Larry Nassar became a household name for his decades of preying on female athletes. By using the phrase over and over again, Johansen was able to erase people’s very real pain and suffering and replace it with a catchphrase. (Johansen, who has since retired from the USOC, did not return a message left at his home.)

Screenshot: Deposition of Gary Johansen, Page 51
Over time, the phrase SafeSport has come to mean several distinct things. It is the name adopted by various governing bodies whenever they have a sexual abuse scandal and need to promise to do more education and prevention. It is a program of sexual assault education and prevention in various Olympic sports. It is—and this is what people are most likely to think of when they hear the word SafeSport, if they know it at all—an actual, physical center in Denver that handles reports of possible sexual abuse in Olympic sports. But above all, SafeSport is a brand, and it functions as one.
Even if it was perfectly engineered, SafeSport would have difficulty achieving its aims, and it is far from perfectly engineered. Records, interviews, and an examination of the relevant history show that while basic groundwork has yet to be laid to protect athletes from abuse, SafeSport has already been deployed to make any parents’ concerns just go away.


Screenshot: Deposition of Gary Johansen, Pages 49-50
First there are the logistics. The caseload number, as given to Deadspin, is 19 cases per investigator, more than half again as high as the general recommendation for caseworkers in state-provided children’s services. (That number is itself arguably far too high.) The budget for education, intended to prevent future abuse, is just $1.5 million, and the overall budget when the SafeSport CEO spoke to Congress was a paltry $4.6 million. (For comparison, anti-doping agency USADA had total expenses in 2016 of close to $20 million.) Child abuse is a problem that can be significantly mitigated with money, and yet it seems that nobody—not even Congress—can be bothered to do just that.
Then there is the center’s claim to be independent from the USOC. The word “independent” or “independence” came up nine times at a congressional hearing earlier this year. But no matter how many times SafeSport CEO Shellie Pfohl promises independence, the center’s history tells a different story. The center is not only reliant on funding from the USOC and other national sports bodies, but is a root-and-branch creation of the USOC. Meeting minutes for the first two years of the SafeSport board, reviewed by Deadspin, show that many of the USOC’s top people, including lawyers like Gary Johansen, were present at meetings offering the SafeSport board guidance and direction. Among them was current SafeSport chief operating officer Malia Arrington, who once said in a deposition that she had no authority to make USA Taekwondo ban a coach despite evidence of sexual abuse. She was, while on the USOC’s payroll, SafeSport’s acting CEO for most of 2016, the key person leading the board through questions about how the center would work and what its priorities would be. She’s still there, as SafeSport’s COO. The USOC even controlled SafeSport’s bank account, meeting minutes said, until last year.
SafeSport disputed questions about its independence, with a spokeswoman saying in a statement: “There are a lot of people who are thankful for the center, its mission and work in the movements.” When asked why so many USOC people were included in the creation of SafeSport, USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said SafeSport “was an idea created by the USOC,” an answer that ignores decades of work of by athletes and activists, especially Champion Women CEO Nancy Hogshead-Makar, demanding the USOC do something to respond to the abuse crisis in Olympic sports.

Screenshot: Deposition of Gary Johansen, Page 30
The USOC exists because of an act of Congress, the Ted Stevens Act, which chartered the organization and gave it nonprofit status. Congress could step in and rewrite the rules that structure Olympic governance; it could fund the SafeSport center to levels that would allow it to protect children in Olympic sports; it could acknowledge that child abuse happens across all walks of life and make the entire issue a national priority.
But Congress itself can’t be bothered to fund the SafeSport center (and, it’s worth noting, has previously held hearings to berate Olympic leaders that accomplished little beyond generating headlines and press releases). It has provided zero dollars directly to SafeSport and instead set up a grant that the center has to apply for—via the attorney general’s office, the same one that recently played a role in separating immigrant parents and their children. That grant, which SafeSport will have to spend time and money to get, is for about $2.2 million. It’s telling that even Congress, the very architects of the American Olympic movement, can’t be bothered to do more than the barest of minimums.
For all the hoopla and all the press releases and all the hearings where elected officials scowl for the cameras, nothing has changed, with the notable exception of the SafeSport brand suddenly appearing everywhere. No children are any safer.
“If you want to molest kids, the USOC is like Disneyland,” said attorney Jon Little, who has played a part in multiple lawsuits against various sport governing bodies, including lawsuits filed earlier this year against USA Taekwondo and USA Diving. “The SafeSport center is just a way to whitewash it.”
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If it weren’t the Olympics—shrouded in flags, patriotism, our national anthem, and tear-jerking video montages—the structure of the U.S. Olympic Committee and the organizations it “charters” to oversee each sport would be understood as what it is: A strange, shell corporation-like setup that may not launder money but does, conveniently, dodge liability. In fact, that might be the most important function that the USOC provides within the Olympic movement: a quick and easy path to plausible deniability for any higher-up who needs to tell a reporter or a lawyer that whatever horrible human actions have been uncovered—like the many cases of young Olympics being abused and raped by their coaches—aren’t their fault.
That’s why, when there is a scandal, the USOC is quick to point out that it doesn’t run the sports it oversees; that is done by the national governing bodies, which it charters and partially funds but which largely run themselves. That’s why, when convenient, the USOC will say it can’t tell NGBs what to do, even though through funding or the threat of decertification, it can. That’s why they will insist, over and over again, that there is no such thing as a USOC athlete; the athletes belong to the national governing bodies, or NGBs. (USOC communications director Christy Cahill once sent Deadspin a correction request for using the phrase “USOC athlete” in a blog post. “The NGBs, in this case USA Taekwondo, manage all of the athlete relationships and no athletes are ‘USOC athletes,’” she wrote.)
“If you want to molest kids, the USOC is like Disneyland. The SafeSport center is just a way to whitewash it.”
According to the USOC’s own tax returns, it’s largely a tax-exempt funnel for cash. The most recent tax return for the USOC, from 2016, tells the story. Their No. 1 expense is giving money back to the NGBs (who pad their executives’ salaries while not paying athletes); their No. 2 expense is running the Olympic training center, which one report found was mostly used by non-Olympians; their No. 3 expense is sending athletes to compete; No. 4 is supporting the Paralympics; and No. 5 is “broadcast properties.” The USOC’s tax returns describe that duty, which costs them more than $10 million, as a mix of working to “secure and nurture” its relationship with broadcast partner NBC (which also sponsors SafeSport) while also growing and developing digital platforms for the Olympic movement, like the TeamUSA.org website.
Another $4 million is spent on “communications,” more than $2 million on international relations, and $4 million on drug control. By their own accounting, the USOC spends a lot of money on public relations. A big part of its job is being a tax-exempt marketing agency. And that’s on top of the CEO’s million-dollar salary and the more than a dozen executives below him earning six figures in 2016, including a chief marketing officer, not one but two managing directors of marketing, and a chief of communications.

Illustration: Chelsea Beck (GMG)
Here’s what the USOC does not do: “The USOC does not train and develop athletes, train and develop coaches, train and create officials, run events, develop grassroots programs to allow children to enter sports, create national physical testing programs to determine an individuals athletic proficiencies or capabilities, establish or develop any facilities in any sport (not that they should ) ... or really have any real influence on the ultimate success of our athletes in Olympic sport,” said Mike Jacki, who was USA Gymnastics president from 1983 to 1994.
The USOC made this argument itself in a recent response to several Nassar-related lawsuits against it. USOC lawyers argued that it should be dismissed from several lawsuits because it has no control over USA Gymnastics. “At an organizational level, USA Gymnastics is not an “affiliate”through which USOC operates, unlike the local soccer organizations in US Youth,” the motion to dismiss reads. “To the contrary, under the ASA, USA Gymnastics is an independent, autonomous organization that exercises complete control over its sport ... In other words, control of USA Gymnastics is alleged to reside with USA Gymnastics itself.”
Nonprofit watchdogs will tell you that a wishy-washy descriptor of what an agency does is usually a warning sign, and the USOC’s own description of itself to the IRS is a battery of empty language: “To support U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes in achieving sustained competitive excellence while demonstrating the values of the Olympic Movement, thereby inspiring all Americans.”
In other words, the USOC spends a lot of money on largely vague purposes, plus its own expenses. And “sexual-abuse allegations represent a threat to this steady stream of commercial success,” in the words of one recent lawsuit filed against USA Diving and Ohio State for their failures to prevent sexual abuse by a coach. “For this reason, the USOC tries at every opportunity to suppress the public from recognizing that the USOC is a complete sham.”
And that stream of commercial success is all about broadcast partnerships. In 2016, the USOC received more than $172 million in revenue from broadcast rights. The second-biggest source of income, at more than $120 million, was royalties. Revenue from broadcasting went down in 2015, a non-Olympic year, but royalties didn’t. They still generated about $101 million that year, according to tax returns.
So it fits with a morbid pattern that the USOC, which functionally ignored child abuse for decades, has responded to an abuse crisis with a branding campaign. That’s what public relations and marketing are for—turning negatives into positives.

Photo: Tom Pennington (Getty)
One timeline put together by attorneys and advocates for athletes dates the first report of sex abuse by an Olympic coach all the way back to 1990. In 1991, the topic of preventing sex abuse came up at a meeting of a USA Swimming ad hoc committee, according to documents obtained by the website SwimVortex. The documents showed no action taken on that issue. More scandals emerged across multiple sports over the decades, but little changed.
Then in 2010, a series of reports aired on ABC and ESPN exposing how little USA Swimming did to protect its athletes from sexual abuse: There were no pre-hiring background checks, many people never thought to report warning signs they saw, and many others willfully looked the other way because they put winning first. In response, USA Swimming started a program it dubbed SafeSport, which the entire Olympic movement later adopted.
From there came lots of meetings. First, the USOC started a task force. That task force issued a report in September 2010, and gave quotes to reporters about how they would get it right this time. A year later, in 2011, there still wasn’t a robust training program, or a centralized model for education across all sports, or a way to make sure bad coaches weren’t jumping from sport to sport to avoid detection, all of which the task force had recommended. But the USOC did file an application for a trademark on the name SafeSport. The application provides the best insight into what the USOC really wanted SafeSport to be. From the application:
Educational services, namely, conducting classes, seminars, presentations, workshops and providing education and resources (both printed and electronic) to prevent the maltreatment of athletes in organized sport; developing, publishing and promoting practices, policies and procedures to prevent the maltreatment of athletes in organized sport
A few months later, they amended their application to include “promoting awareness of the need to prevent maltreatment” and “developing voluntary standards.”

Over and over again, the phrase “voluntary standards” pops up in the trademark application materials. A year later, in 2012, they added what looks like a printout of a very cheerful website.

The application for a trademark was approved in August 2012. A month later, the Wayback Machine first captured SafeSport.org looking a lot like what was described in the trademark application. By then, the USOC had also hired Arrington—a lawyer who said under oath in a deposition that she had no prior experience as an attorney working with sex-abuse victims—to be their senior director of ethics and SafeSport. She described her duties to stop sex abuse this way in a 2015 deposition:


Screenshot: Deposition of Malia Arrington, Page 56
Trademark in hand, Olympic officials could now bring up SafeSport as needed.
In 2013, when US Speedskating had to settle with a group of athletes who said they were abused by their coach, the USOC promised to expand the nebulous SafeSport program and create an independent agency to address the issue. The people in that discussion included the then-CEO of USA Gymnastics, Steve Penny, who eventually left in disgrace over how he’d handled the Larry Nassar scandal.
In 2014, a group of 19 female swimmers said they were sexually abused by their swim coaches, forcing the International Swimming Hall of Fame to rescind an invite to the head of USA Swimming, Chuck Wielgus. And what did Wieglus trot out in defense of his reputation? SafeSport. A statement from Wielgus said, “While USA Swimming developed its groundbreaking SafeSport Program, I championed the work of our national governing body. I talked about all the good that USA Swimming was doing in the fight to eradicate sexual abuse.”
Later that year, when Outside magazine reported extensively on the ongoing issue of sexual abuse across Olympic sports, especially swimming, Olympic leaders once again called on SafeSport. The article notes the SafeSport center will open, eventually, and goes into detail about the success of the SafeSport program in USA Swimming, overseen by Susan Woessner. (Woessner resigned earlier this year after the Orange County Register reported that in 2007, she was part of a USA Swimming sexual misconduct investigation that cleared swimming coach Sean Hutchison, who Woessner had kissed three years earlier. The swimmer in that case, Ariana Kukors Smith, has since said Hutchison was abusing her.)
But the brand was already on full display. The USOC held a SafeSport summitin 2014 that, per its own press release, “left each attendee inspired to take action.” What didn’t make the press release is the fact that that, as Outsidereported, former short-track speed skater Bridie Farrell said at the conference that she had been sexually abused by a fellow skater, Andy Gabel. Gabel admitted to misconduct in an interview with the Chicago Tribune, but didn’t lose his lifetime membership to US Speedskating until 2016.
In June 2014, the SafeSport website had existed for two years. As captured by the Wayback Machine, it offered this advice on how to handle a report of possible child abuse.

It does not mention calling law enforcement or any authority outside the Olympic system.
In her deposition, Arrington would use the website as one of the big results of her work. (Estey refers to the lawyer for the one of the plaintiffs.)


Screenshot: Deposition of Malia Arrington, Page 78
When the Government Accountability Office did a report on abuse in athletics in 2015, the USOC once again trotted out SafeSport. They told the GAO that SafeSport was its “athlete safety program.” The physical center that had been promised still did not exist. That same year, according to USOC tax records, the organization finally amended its bylaws, “requiring members to comply with safe sport policies of the USOC and the independent safe sport organization designated by the USOC to enhance safe sport practices and to investigate and resolve safe sport violations.”
In 2015, USA Swimming held its own SafeSport conference. Dani Bostick, who was abused by her swimming coach in the 1980s, was invited to speak there. She described the experience as having little to do with preventing sexual abuse, and mostly about marketing.
“It was them using me as a victim show pony,” she said. “There was no significant content on actually preventing sexual abuse, and I left the conference going, ‘Why does this even exist?’”
In 2016, though, when the story of abuse in gymnastics first broke, the first solution proposed by the USOC was SafeSport, with Arrington giving quotes to reporters. That same year, SafeSport did an inquiry into a diving coach sexually abusing a young diver, according to a lawsuit filed by the diver this month.

In 2018, the USOC documented the transfer of its trademark on “SafeSport” to the SafeSport center—the same center that is supposed to be independent of the USOC.
Asked for comment, USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky asked to speak on background, and said he couldn’t answer all of Deadspin’s questions within the 30 minutes he had allotted. Over email, he promised to look into why the USOC holds the trademark on SafeSport, and he sent a link to a 2017 letter to two senators from then-USOC CEO Scott Blackmun, which said delays in opening the SafeSport Center were due to it “[taking] more time and effort from more people than we expected.”
Asked to address the critique that the USOC is largely a marketing agency that now has been tasked with addressing sexual abuse, he wrote back: “The vast majority of our staff are dedicated to elite sport performance, including coaches, nutritionists, psychologists, physiologists, chiropractors, strength and conditioning experts, to name a few, all dedicated to delivering against the USOC mission of supporting athletes in achieving sustained competitive excellence.” As for the trademark, Sandusky said it was secured “to protect the name of the center for safe sport, not for marketing reasons.”

Photo: David Ramos (Getty)
For the SafeSport center to have a chance, athletes need to believe in its independence. Otherwise, SafeSport will run into the same issue that has plagued law enforcement, child services, Title IX officers, and human resources departments: Victims avoid reporting to enforcement offices that they view as prioritizing the reputations of their institutions over individuals. Independence is hard enough to sell given that SafeSport existed for several years as little more than a USOC trademark, a website maintained by the USOC, and a nice catchphrase to trot out when another sexual-abuse scandal broke. But documentation of the earliest meetings of SafeSport board show that any assertion of independence is, at best, magical thinking.
First, there’s the matter of the SafeSport board of directors. USOC chief of sports operations Rick Adams is not on the board, but his own USOC biography page says that he “led the hiring of a CEO and a nine-member, independent board of directors” for SafeSport. Adams is accused in a lawsuit filed against the USOC and USA Taekwondo of knowing about “the numerous complaints of rape and sexual assault made by U.S. athletes against the Lopez brothers” and doing nothing. He would later go on to apologize before Congress for the USOC’s failings, but his fingerprints on SafeSport remain. (A USOC statementon the Taekwondo lawsuit did not specifically address any of the allegations.)
The first SafeSport board members included Fran Sepler, who, according to USA Gymnastics, was hired to interview gymnast Maggie Nichols in 2015 about Larry Nassar abusing her under the guise of medical treatment. Sepler told Sports Illustrated that she wasn’t there to do an investigation, just to “conduct interviews.” But USA Gymnastics’ statement about Sepler’s role was more vague, and Nichols’ dad said he was under the impression that Sepler was with law enforcement. Sepler has since left the board.
For the SafeSport center to have a chance, athletes need to believe in its independence.
Still listed as on the board is Megan Ryther, who spent four years on USA Swimming’s board of directors—the same organization that’s still plagued by sex-abuse cases. There’s also film producer Frank Marshall, who says on his own website that he was a member of the USOC for more than a decade. For his work with the USOC, he has an Olympic shield and was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. He also at one point was a board member for USA Gymnastics.
Dozens of pages of meeting minutes from the first two years of the SafeSport board do little to support the claim of independence. They do, however, line up with the idea of SafeSport as a USOC brand created to make parents feel better and make reporters go away. They show an organization—started by the USOC, given orders on what to do by USOC employees, and staffed in key positions with former USOC employees—that talked more about branding, market positioning, and how to handle a media crisis than child abuse or protecting athletes. Like this meeting on March 18, 2016:

The first meeting was held on Jan. 28, 2016, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where the USOC is located. Along with the board of directors, six other people attended, according to the meeting minutes. Almost all of them worked for the USOC:
• Malia Arrington, USOC senior director, ethics and SafeSport
• Meredith Yeoman, USOC coordinator, community outreach and communications, ethics, and SafeSport
• Gary L. Johansen, USOC associate general counsel, legal, and SafeSport secretary.
• Stephen Brewer, USOC controller, finance, and SafeSport treasurer
• Chad Sunderland, USOC director of business intelligence, strategic planning
• David P. Kunstle, outside counsel for SafeSport from the law firm of Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie
Arrington, the USOC official who said sex abuse had to be handled at the sport level, was the person guiding the SafeSport board as it created the SafeSport center to investigate child abuse. Johansen, the man who said the USOC doesn’t have athletes and dubbed sex abuse a “SafeSport issue,” was there as well.
Over and over again, in the minutes from early meetings, it’s impossible to ignore the influence Arrington had over the very foundation of the SafeSport center. In that first meeting, per the minutes, she is thanked for “getting the organization up and running.” Arrington gives the board a presentation about SafeSport. She goes over NGB and USOC bylaws. There is a discussion of the center’s possible policies done, according to the minutes, “under Malia Arrington’s leadership.”
When the meeting picked up again, the next day, the same USOC people were there, plus more:
• Rick Adams, USOC chief of paralympic sport and NGB organizational development.
• Scott Blackmun, then-CEO of the USOC
• Blanton Jones, USOC vice president, annual and major gifts, development department
• Martha Johnson, USOC associate director, NGB fundraising development, development division
• Pam Sawyer, managing director USOC human resources department
Outside counsel aside, there was only one person without a USOC title, paralympic athlete Rudy Garcia-Tolson. And the very first item noted on the minutes was Blackmun telling the board that SafeSport would get a few million from the USOC but, otherwise, “would need a dedicated and focused effort to raise funds in order to execute its mission.”
The very next speaker was Arrington.
For a second day in a row, her name starts many of the action lines described in the meeting minutes. She lays out the factors for SafeSport’s success. She leads a discussion on possible services SafeSport can provide. She tells the board that actually the USOC owns the trademark—true at the time, per federal records—but will transfer it over to this new organization. The motion to have Arrington sign such a licensing agreement passes unanimously.

Illustration: Chelsea Beck (GMG)
From there, more USOC people talk. Adams, Jones, and Johnson bring up how to raise money based on their USOC and NGB experience. Sawyer talks about how to look for a CEO. Arrington talks about the struggle to get insurance for the center. The board agrees to keep on Arrington and Yeoman as a loaned CEO (from the USOC) and a loaned community outreach/communication coordinator (from the USOC), with their salaries paid by the USOC through July. And the board agrees that the center—the independent center for the independent investigators that won’t be influenced by the USOC—should be in Colorado, close to the USOC. There’s talk about branding, as Arrington is worried that SafeSport could be construed as having to do with concussions or equipment safety. Near the end, the board decides to break into three working groups: communications and marketing, executive search, and fundraising.
And on the second day, they already were talking about branding.

From there, the USOC’s fingerprints all over SafeSport only grow heavier.
The next meeting, on March 18, 2016, lists almost exclusively USOC people in attendance, outside the board, save for one person—USA Gymnastics CEO Steve Penny, who is described as speaking about the “challenges that were presented to USA Gymnastics in providing a safe sport environment.”
Arrington dominates the conversation. She talks about the importance of “establishing a sound reputation and gaining stakeholders’ trust.” Arrington tells them that a USOC vice president has agreed to help their fundraising efforts and another USOC person might be willing to serve as a liaison to SafeSport. There’s talk about “draft mission,” a “market strategy,” and “mission statements.” SafeSport, multiple times, is described in the meeting minutes as a “company” and Arrington and the USOC’s Chad Sunderland at one point is described as talking about “organizations that could serve as customers or key partners.”
The second half of the meeting takes places the next day and starts with this discussion:

There’s talk about creating a corporate donor policy, limiting a corporate sponsor to at most 15 percent of the center’s operating budget. No such limit is placed on the USOC. And in this, just the second board meeting, SafeSport’s programs already are seen as funding opportunities:

The meeting minutes do not reflect any prolonged conversation about how to best prevent sex abuse.
The last seven items discussed all start out with talking points from Arrington. They talk about bylaws, standing committees, advisory boards, possible key hires, compensation philosophy, starting a 24-hour hotline, a case-management system, and even where to put the SafeSport offices.
Their next significant meeting is spread across two days in late June 2016. Again, outside of the board members themselves, only USOC people were present. They agree to have their executive search done by Korn Ferry, a search firm that has worked with the USOC before. The executive search committee says it has gotten information from the USOC on “traits that might be useful in USCSS staffing.” Arrington discusses a staffing plan and branding, and the USOC’s Yeoman talks about marketing. The board members talk about the importance “of telling a positive story.”

There is still more talk about fundraising. Arrington reports that she has talked to the NCAA, but no details are given about how that conversation came about or how it went. The USOC’s Steven Brewer is relieved of his position as SafeSport’s treasurer, so that position can be filled with a board member. And even though the center hasn’t even opened its doors, it already has a crisis plan.

At the meeting, the shared services agreement with the USOC is extended through the end of the year. A little more than a month later, the Indianapolis Star publishes its first story detailing how USA Gymnastics ignored decades of reports of abuse by coaches. The board meets by phone weeks later, on Aug. 15; there is no discussion, per the minutes, of that story. They do authorize Arrington to sign a lease on an office for SafeSport in Colorado.
And who gives quotes to reporters a day after the Star story, telling reporters that SafeSport will come to the rescue? Arrington.
Kate Brannen, a SafeSport spokeswoman from PR firm Hill Impact, said the USOC wanted a member of the working group on the center’s staff, and the board chose Arrington. “Her experience and dedication to ending abuse in sport,” she said, “was invaluable in getting us to where we are today. Arrington sent her own response to an email asking for comment, saying that in her deposition in the USA Taekwondo case, “I spoke to the many ways I learned about important aspects of sexual assault over the years (and have since published in this area); unfortunately, a sliver of what I said was misused, sensationalized, and has since been carelessly repeated as if it is fact. I am not going to engage in a back and forth over personal attacks. To do so would distract from the important work of ending sexual abuse in sport and developing a culture that champions respect.”

Photo: Tom Pennington (Getty)
The meetings continue like this. In September, a month after the Star story’s publication, the meeting minutes still show exclusively USOC people in attendance. Arrington is still the person presenting information to the board and guiding NGBs on the possible changes coming up. There is no mention of the Star story in the minutes. But there is the first mention of an “operational readiness plan,” with a start date of Jan. 1, 2017, and the board talks about “the need for an approved plan to guide [SafeSport’s] public and media relations.”
Again, the USOC is offered as a place for advice on fundraising, with board member Dr. Angelo Giordano saying one USOC vice president, Christine Walsh, “would be available to offer advice as to fundraising efforts.” There is discussion of making an offer to a candidate for CEO, but the meeting minutes don’t give a name.
On Dec. 9, 2016, the board thanks Arrington for her service as they welcome Shellie Pfohl as their CEO. But Arrington stays on, moving to the COO role. The tax records for SafeSport from 2016 say her “reportable compensation from related organizations” was $210,129 plus another $15,706 in “other compensation.”
In the first meeting of 2017, Arrington—the longtime USOC employee who helped build SafeSport and then became a SafeSport employee—brings up concerns about conflicts of interest. She suggests a two-year waiting period before an investigator from an Olympic or Paralympic organization can work for the organization. There is a great deal of talk about fundraising, and Pfohl brings up the idea of relationships with American sports leagues as well as “rebranding” SafeSport training and educational materials.
That March meeting is the first one where the guest list includes people who don’t have USOC titles. And while the center still has not opened its doors, there is another discussion about how to handle the media.

Board members get another media update at the next meeting, in June of 2017:

In late 2017, the USOC people largely fade away from the SafeSport board meeting minutes, and the minutes get shorter. There were no minutes from 2018 published on the SafeSport website. But the foundation had been laid—by people paid by the USOC.
When asked how they reconciled their independence with what the meeting minutes showed, SafeSport public relations provided this statement: “The Center’s history is something that we’ve been very transparent about and it’s well established that it was originally chartered by the USOC. Its independence comes from its governance, independent board of directors and bylaws. This is similar to the way the USOC initially established USADA, which today is an independent entity.” (Less than one-fifth of USADA’s budget comes from the USOC.)
Conflicts of interest have long been a concern for critics of SafeSport. Even before the center opened its doors, Hogshead-Makar, CEO of ChampionWomen, and Marci Hamilton, CEO of Child USA and a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, had sent multiple letters critiquing the proposed SafeSport code that the center would be in charge of enforcing. They went back and forth on several issues, including whether coaches should be allowed to be alone with children, who was covered by the SafeSport code, and how the organization could guarantee its independence. They mentioned this in their third letter:

Hamilton said she doesn’t hold out much hope for what SafeSport can accomplish, and has even less hope than when she wrote those letters. She is still concerned by how SafeSport works, especially the lack of transparency in what it finds, because it means nobody but a select few people will ever know how systemic the issue within the Olympic community truly is. Without that type of transparency, Hamilton said, “you can’t get the poison out of the system.”
“The more I think about it, the more I think this is just not the way we get to where we need to be,” she said, “which is maximum transparency and maximum justice.”

Photo: Florien Choblet (Pool/Getty)
So what does the SafeSport center actually do? According to its own code, it has exclusive authority to investigate sexual misconduct and other conduct prohibited by the code that “is reasonably related to the underlying allegation of sexual misconduct.” That’s it. It cannot investigate bullying or hazing or emotional abuse or physical abuse or essentially any form of abuse, outside of sexual abuse. All those other forms of abuse? They are the province of the NGBs—hardly an encouraging thought for anyone considering reporting abuse given the track records of multiple NGBs.
This structure also ignores how much of the Olympic system happens beyond the official confines of the NGBs, in private clubs, leagues, and teams.

According to its guidelines, the only way the SafeSport center can take on an investigation that isn’t connected to sexual misconduct is if it receives a written request from an NGB or USOC. Even then, any action would be at the center’s discretion. And there are many more gaps that SafeSport simply can’t fill. It has no jurisdiction over NCAA sports. It doesn’t have jurisdiction over who owns a private sports club. It can’t ban a person from showing up at private events, which already has become an issue with banned volleyball coach Rick Butler. And it can’t stop individual parents from waiving concerns aside because they want their kid to win.
Operating perfectly, SafeSport will, by design, at best handle a fraction of abuse cases, while standing at a remove from some of the central elements of Olympic sports. As is, SafeSport is not set up to operate perfectly.
In her deposition, Arrington went over how much of the Olympic movement, by design, is beyond their control (the questions are from attorney John Little):


After some objections from a USOC lawyer, Arrington gives another answer on the topic.

So, from the outset, the SafeSport center is, at best, limited. What is will be excellent at, though, is keeping the details of horrifying sexual abuse at the highest levels of Olympic sport out of the court system—where depositions like Arrington’s can happen and become public.
“If they can head off the civil lawsuits,” lawyer Stephen Estey told me, “they’re never going to make any real, substantial change.”
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When Deadspin emailed SafeSport using the supplied media contact information, the responses came from Dan Hill and Kate Brannen of SafeSport’s PR firm, Hill Impact. Hill said that about 19 percent of SafeSport’s investigations are done by contract investigators. The names of the investigators would not be provided but their background, he said, was in “law enforcement, legal and investigations. Some come from Title IX.” They are not allowed to have worked previously for an NGB or the USOC, he said. In a separate email, Brannen said that the average investigator has 10 to 15 years experience on sexual-assault cases.
But here’s what the backgrounds of people who say they work for SafeSport shows: Pfohl doesn’t come from a child welfare background. All her previous jobs have to do with encouraging eating healthy and physical fitness among children; her most recent role was as executive director of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. Asked why Pfohl was selected despite her lack of experience working with victims of abuse, Brannen responded that she “is a more than capable, hard-working executive with significant experience in the nonprofit sector and the development of sport-related programs for youth.
Then there’s SafeSport’s former director of legal affairs, whose title was changed to director of investigations and outcomes shortly before Deadspin inquired about his background. Michael Henry says on his LinkedIn profilethat he finished law school in 2012 at Texas Tech. He spent a few years doing Title IX work at Texas Tech, then joined a prominent Title IX consulting group, NCHERM, before taking over at SafeSport. Until at least June of this year, records show he was called the group’s “legal affairs director,” which sure makes him sound like a lawyer. He’s referred to with that title, sourced to his LinkedIn page, in an Irv Muchnick blog post earlier this year in which Muchnick referred to him as the “chief lawyer for the agency.”
“Legal affairs director”—is also how ZoomInfo catalogued Henry’s business information. And in a letter Henry sent, dated June 5 of this year, he signed it as“legal affairs director.” The letter was an exhibit filed in Richard Callaghan’s lawsuit against SafeSport to stop his interim suspension for sexual misconduct. Here’s the top of the letter:

Screenshot: Top of the letter
And here’s the bottom, with his title:

Henry, though, isn’t a practicing lawyer. Deadspin asked SafeSport for the bar number and issuing state for Henry. SafeSport responded that Henry never took the bar and was never the general counsel, and that his title was “director of investigations and outcomes.”
In response to follow-up questions about why his title had changed, SafeSport responded that the center knew that he wasn’t a lawyer when he was hired and the title change was due to a recent reorganization in which the center hired a “chief of response and resolution,” to whom Henry reports. That new employee, W. Scott Lewis, was announced via press release on July 5. Lewis also came from prominent Title IX consultants NCHERM.
Deadspin also found one woman who publicly identifies as a SafeSport investigator on LinkedIn and, as with Henry, has experience only at the collegiate level. She says that she did Title IX work at the University of Hawaii for about three years and, before that, worked at the University of Phoenix. One of SafeSport’s contract investigators also was named through her emails to the lawyer for Callaghan. The investigator in that case is another Title IX lawyer, Kathryn “Kai” McGintee, with Maine law firm Bernstein Shur’s Labor and Employment Practice Group and Education Practice Group. McGintee has been quoted as a Title IX expert in the past, and her name is mostly comes up with her sexual-assault investigations at Phillips Exeter Academy, which parents sued over how the elite prep school handled reports of sexual assault.
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Hill, responding on behalf of SafeSport said he couldn’t set up an interview with Pfohl within Deadspin’s timeframe, but did offer to set up an interview with Katie Hanna, director of education and outreach for SafeSport. With a member of the group’s PR team on the call, Hanna talked about her plans for the educational component of SafeSport. The current staff is extremely small, just a few people, and their budget is $1.5 million.
Overall, Hanna—who has a background in working to end sexual violence—sounded extremely positive. She talked about creating “a learning community” where peers and coaches teach each other best practices and reaching out to coaches who wanted to be part of the change. She said, “There are so many coaches who are working to end abuse in sports.” And several NGBs, she said, had indicated they wanted to go above and beyond what SafeSport required. So far, they had consulted with Coaching Boys Into Men and Athletes As Leadersfor guidance on building positive environments.
“So much about what works in prevention is having ongoing assistance and training to make sure it’s effective,” she said.
Asked what she could do about about NGBs, like USA Swimming, that have been called out for having poor or even dangerous SafeSport materials, Hanna said, “We will provide best practices to NGBs.” The SafeSport center does have the authority to do random audits of NGBs to see if they are in compliance with the SafeSport code, and can issue consequences if they are not, but those consequences hadn’t been finalized when we spoke.
“If they can head off the civil lawsuits, they’re never going to make any real, substantial change.”
Asked about the the sheer size and demand of what they were being asked to do—end sex abuse in sports—and with so few resources, Hanna answered with the positivity common to people who provide perpetually underfunded services for women and children. “We’re up for the task,” she said.
SafeSport’s recent hires surely want to do good work. But can they make a difference? Pfohl’s testimony before Congress last month showed how overworked they are. Between the time the center opened in March 2017 and April of this year, the group received more than 800 complaints, covering 38 out of the close to 50 NGBs. As of June, SafeSport had 14 employees: five full-time investigators, nine staff that work in other areas, and seven “external, contracted investigators. (Pfohl insisted these investigators were qualified, although she would not go into many detail about what made them so.) The entire budget, she said, is “a little more than $4.6 million.” When asked if this is enough money and people to investigate every complaint thoroughly, Pfohl quickly replied, “No.” (Since that interview, SafeSport has hired a chief of response and resolution, and have posted five job openings.)
The lack of funding isn’t new, even if members of Congress act surprised in front of the cameras. From the Colorado Springs Gazette in April 2017:
In a March interview, USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said the delay in opening SafeSport was primarily financial. The USOC will provide $10 million to fund SafeSport’s first five years of operation.
Raising those funds was challenging.
“We thought we would be able to raise financial support for this program faster than we were able to,” Blackmun said.
Pfohl brings up the delay question without being asked.
“Gosh,” she said, “we all wish it would have happened faster.”
Those limited dollars explain why Pfohl had to give answers like this, when asked about how SafeSport will be able to audit how it is doing. “I would say,” Pfohl said, before taking a long pause, “our resources are limited in that area in terms of self-audits, if you will. But our goal, and I know it is a high priority for our board, we will find the resources to be able to do it.”
Since then, SafeSport says it has received more than 1,000 complaints. Brannen said the center had issued almost 300 sanctions and made more than 149 individuals permanently ineligible.

The money SafeSport does have comes largely from organizations it is tasked with policing or that have relationships with the Olympic movement. The center itself didn’t have its own tax returns, known as 990s, until 2016, when it reported having less than $1 million in net assets and $1.5 million in revenue. Most of that—$1.07 million—came from “related organizations,” meaning the USOC, which said on its own tax return that it gave SafeSport $1.07 million that year for “furthering Olympic and Paralympic support.” SafeSport also gets money from the NGBs, although those figures are much smaller. USA Swimming president and CEO Tim Hinchey, for instance, told Congress that his organization, which is one of the larger NGBs, gave about $43,000 a year.
Public records don’t yet detail how much the USOC has given SafeSport more recently. SafeSport’s website, though, lists their sponsors: two Olympic organizations; the NBA and WNBA, which work with the Olympics; ESPN, which has Olympic ties too; and NBC, the network that broadcasts the Olympics. It’s difficult to understand how SafeSport can be considered independent—no matter how many times Pfohl and told Congress, “I don’t answer to anyone at the USOC”—when so many organizations that benefit from the Olympics are cutting the checks.

It didn’t have to be this way. One version of the United States Center for Safe Sport Authorization Act, filed by Sen. Bill Nelson and Sen. John Thune in 2017, included a provision to give SafeSport $1 million each year. That’s not nearly enough to cover everything, but such a setup would at least represent a start. The final version of the bill, which passed earlier this year, contained no language about how to fund SafeSport, forcing the organization that’s supposed to make millions of children across America safer to go out and find its own cash. So while members of Congress go through hearing after hearing worrying about SafeSports’ conflict of interest, they leave how they themselves contributed to it.
Deadspin asked spokesmen for Nelson, Thune, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein why appropriations were left out of the bill; a member of the Commerce committee staff responded to the inquiries by saying the funding language ended up getting replaced with a “DOJ competitive grant included/funded in the omnibus.”
That grant, according to the bill that passed, is for $2.5 million, while the 34-page solicitation puts it at about $2.2 million. The SafeSport Center, in theory, is a lock for the funds because the program is earmarked for “an eligible nonprofit nongovernmental entity in order to support oversight of the United States Olympic Committee, each national governing body, and each paralympic sports organization with regard to safeguarding amateur athletes against abuse, including emotional, physical, and sexual abuse in sports.” But they still have to apply. And wait.
What about in the coming years, especially after 2022, the last year mentioned in the funding bill? Will there be more grants? That is up to Congress, the organization that created the USOC and its entire system of buck-passing.
Given the distinction between the SafeSport center and SafeSport as a program, most of what SafeSport is and does will, ultimately, take place at the sport level. And as anyone who’s read coverage of NGBs like USA Gymnastics, USA Swimming, USA Taekwondo, or USA Diving over the last year and a half knows, this is an issue. These are the very bodies that have failed to act on, or acted to cover up, reports of abuse.
“Right now, all the power resides with what some people refer to as the suits—the administrators and the Karolyis—and none of the power resides with the athletes,” Hogshead-Makar said. “It’s a zero-sum game. So how do you move it from them to the athlete?”
It’s hard to know where to begin with the list of problems that make that movement so difficult: the lack of oversight of coaches; the incomplete lists of banned coaches; and the lack of significant change at many NGBs, where a leader can easily survive a sexual-abuse scandal, are among the most serious. Perhaps unsurprisingly, even the very people hired to execute SafeSport at the NGB level can raise red flags.
“I have a huge problem with how most NGBs hire people to work in SafeSport, and that is they don’t hire people from outside sports. They hire marketing people,” Hogshead-Makar said.
A visit to several NGB’s SafeSport websites shows most are bland collections of graphics, brochures, and hotline numbers. One of the more robust online programs belongs to the sport that started SafeSport and one of the largest NGBs: USA Swimming, where it’s already been called a farce and a sham. Swimming promoted Susan Woessner to oversee SafeSport, even though her prior job had been in business operations; she resigned after the Orange County Register reported that she had kissed a coach accused of sexual abuse. ThinkProgress dove through USA Swimming’s SafeSport materials and found plenty of troubling messages, like one exercise that said, “It’s coaches’ jobs to care about you!”
And the downright glibness of the SafeSport Activity Book, a coloring book that USA Swimming puts out quarterly, shows SafeSport at its conceptual worst, functioning as literal public relations. (According to the website, the coloring book is meant to start conversations about “all the reasons to love the sport of swimming.”) Let’s go through the most recent issue.

The coloring book adventure concludes with our guides sending us off, saying we are ready to be SafeSport champions.
Bostick, the former swimmer who came forward about her abuse, has expressed her concerns to USA Swimming about these materials as well their program overall. When people see the logo for USA Swimming, Bostick says, they “think this is someone who will help me be healthy, someone I can trust. This isn’t someone in a broken-down van with a puppy offering you candy. It inspires trust.” (USA Swimming did not respond to requests for comment.)
Add to that the power of a catchy brand, like SafeSport: “When you see SafeSport, you are going to assume it’s the best material out there in terms of athlete safety and prevention,” Bostick said. “Instead, it’s terrible. It’s a marketing arm of USA Swimming, but with people’s lives on the line.”
Or look at USA Gymnastics, another one of the largest NGBs. Its president, Kathy Perry, recently spoke at a regional gymnastics meeting, and the full audio was aired by the podcast GymCastic. Perry talks about exercises to describe what words best describe their core values. She says “empowerment” a lot, plus “safety” and “culture” and “SafeSport.” Perry hits every buzzword that’s expected. It all sounds good, but it’s difficult to point to anything concrete substance beyond the expected marketing speak.

USA Gymnastics President Assures Membership That Everything Is In Chaos And The Situation Is…
Kerry Perry hasn’t sat down for any media interviews since coming on as president and CEO of USA…
Read more
________________________________________
“We’re not here today to tear down the sporting world,” said U.S. Rep. Diana L. DeGette, whose district includes the SafeSport center, during one of the many recent rounds of Congressional testimony.
That is part of the problem. Ending child abuse both within and beyond sportsis about tearing things down, and about remaking the world. Hamilton, who has studied child abuse across multiple institutions, wrote last year on what she has learned from seeing the same crimes committed over and over again in different institutions, different states, and different walks of life but always with the same horrifying details “because child sex abuse is as old as humankind and just as entrenched.”
This tectonic shift cannot happen when discrete organizations are left to their own devices, no matter how good their intentions, because unaccountable organizations (and that is what an organization governing itself is) will devolve into scenarios of self-protection and adult preferentialism. The law has set up organizations to these ends, actually: The boards of directors have fiduciary obligations to the organization, the leadership is awarded for its success for the organization, and the fans of the organizations have an insatiable appetite for its public achievements. When you add to that the ingrained tendency of adults to put adult interests like reputation and career ahead of children, the result is that children continue to be institutionally incapable of overcoming these biases against protection.
Instead, America has been given SafeSport.
It is, in some ways, a distinctly American creation—born from the rib of a marketing agency, given a gargantuan task, forced to figure things out on the fly with little oversight, and to pay for itself. It’s not surprising that SafeSport is underfunded and overworked, that it may employ people who are under-qualified, or that it has been heavily influenced by people who appear to care more about trademarks and preventing lawsuits than protecting children. You could apply the same observations to plenty of child welfare agencies across America. What’s surprising is that anyone thinks SafeSport will somehow turn out different than every other attempt to help children.

SafeSport, as currently constructed, will not accomplish its lofty goal, but it will make for great marketing. Give the lawyers a good phrase to say—something cleaner than “sexual assault” or “rape” or “abuse”—and trot out all the usual people to insist that there’s nothing to see here, that their handpicked people will take care of it just like they always have, and you can get away with a lot. Given the USOC’s own history, there’s no reason to think this was ever about anything else.

https://deadspin.com/safesport-the-usoc ... 1826279217

greybeard58
Posts: 1942
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 11:40 pm

Make It Clear It’s Never Their Fault

Post by greybeard58 » Sun Feb 24, 2019 10:14 pm

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sexual Abuse
Looking back on the Larry Nassar scandal, we spoke to experts about how to address these difficult issues with kids of all ages.
By Caroline Bologna
01/20/2019 08:00 am ET Updated Jan 22, 2019

This article is the fifth installment of “One Year Later: Larry Nassar And The Women Who Made Us Listen,” a seven-part series that commemorates the seven days women stood in a Lansing, Michigan, courtroom last year and faced their abuser, former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State trainer Larry Nassar. Read more installments: One | Two | Three | Four | Six | Seven

On Jan. 16, 2018, the world witnessed the gut-wrenching statements of 169 women and family members whose lives were affected by the criminal sexual abuse of former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University trainer Larry Nassar.

Stories like the Nassar scandal reinforce parents’ and caregivers’ desire to protect their children from a horror that is all too common.

Child sexual abuse may be scary to think about, but it’s an important topic to address with kids of all ages. Fortunately, there are age-appropriate ways to lay the foundation and build on concepts that will help keep children safe and empower them to speak out if their boundaries are violated.

HuffPost spoke to sex educators about how to talk to kids about sexual abuse from infancy to the teen years, and how to recognize and respond to troubling situations if they arise.

Start Early By Establishing Body Autonomy, Privacy And More
Parents can build the foundation of safety from sexual abuse as early as infancy, sex educator Melissa Carnagey said. Using the proper terms for genitals, instead of cutesy nicknames, empowers children to communicate clearly about themselves and their bodies.

“By doing this, parents are creating a shame-free and open home culture around talking about the body,” Carnagey told HuffPost in an email. “Then as the child moves into toddlerhood and preschool ages, parents can help them understand body boundaries and consent by listening to a child’s ‘no’ or ‘stop’ and reinforcing the importance of the child respecting other people’s limits as well.”

“Preventative conversations with young children around sexual abuse aren’t usually about sexual abuse in specificity,” sex education teacher Kim Cavill said. She encouraged parents to talk instead about the proper names for body parts, as well as body autonomy, body privacy, environmental privacy, how to say “no” and the difference between secrets and surprises.

“Body autonomy means acknowledging each person is the boss of their own body and they get to decide what they want to do with it, as long as they don’t use it to hurt someone else or themselves,” Cavill told HuffPost in an email. “Body privacy means teaching children that some parts of their bodies are private and other people shouldn’t look at them or touch them. Doctors should ask permission before examining private parts and a trusted grown up should be present.“

“Environmental privacy” means teaching kids about the social norms and expectations around different behaviors, like how to change into swimsuits at the community pool, how to behave in public restrooms, how to change clothes at school, and so on.

Teaching kids how to say “no” is also powerful.

“Children don’t always assume it’s OK to say ‘no,’ especially to adults, because they’re often taught to be obedient,” Cavill said. “We have to explicitly teach children how to set boundaries for themselves and support them when they do, even if it puts us into uncomfortable situations, like refusing to give hugs at a birthday party.”

Talk About Feelings

“When children can name their emotions, and recognize emotional responses in others, it gives them the ability to express their needs, empathize with others and to listen to the signals their body gives them, especially when something or someone feels uncomfortable,” Carnagey said.

“We have to be talking about what feels good and what doesn’t in everyday conversations,” sex educator Lydia Bowers told HuffPost. “‘I like when you give me a hug, it makes me feel warm,’ and ‘I don’t like when he took my doll, I felt angry,’ give children the language to describe their feelings, which can be critical in recognizing if they’re feeling unsafe, scared or worried.”

When children can name their emotions, and recognize emotional responses in others, it gives them the ability to express their needs, empathize with others and to listen to the signals their body gives them.
Melissa Carnagey, sex educator
It’s meaningful to help kids practice identifying feelings like fear, anxiety, confusion, sadness and discomfort, and adults should try not to dismiss or minimize those emotions when a child expresses them.

Parents can also teach children about the ways bodies can give warning signs in relation to feelings (like sweaty palms, wanting to cry or feeling the sudden need to urinate) that are important to listen to.

Explain ‘Unsafe Touch’
Sex educators generally consider the terms “safe touch” and “unsafe touch” to be better than “good” and “bad” touch. It may be easy to classify being touched around your private parts as an example of “bad touch,” but sometimes there are natural physiological responses that could feel good, which may seem confusing to young people.

“Unsafe touch” can also cover certain forms of contact that might be “good” in other contexts. “A hug is a ‘good’ touch, but if it is coming from someone that shouldn’t be hugging you, then it is ‘unsafe,’” Bowers said.

“People can also seem ‘good’ but can make unsafe choices,” Carnagey said. “So it’s best to use the terms ‘safe’ and ‘unsafe,’ and base your conversations around the child recognizing the circumstances that affect safety.”

Don’t Just Focus On ‘Stranger Danger’
“Children used to be taught the concept of ‘stranger danger,’ but the Nassar case is a good example of the flaw in that concept,” Carnagey said. “An abuser is more often someone that a child knows or has some kind of prior connection with, so we must talk to children in terms of ‘tricky people,’ a term coined by Pattie Fitzgerald.”

This approach encourages parents to help their children recognize “tricky” or unsafe behavior versus trustworthy behavior.

“People who are trustworthy tell the truth, respect privacy, don’t ask children to keep secrets, ask grown-ups for help (not children), give you a safe feeling (not a scary ‘uh-oh’ feeling), follow family rules, and ask you to check with parents to get permission,” said Cavill, who created a podcast episode and a worksheet to help parents facilitate conversations about trust. “Tricky people don’t do those things, or they do the opposite of those things.”

Emphasize They Can Always Come To You
It’s important for parents to “keep the conversation door open,” Cavill said. “Kids will walk through that door to talk with you, but only if it’s open all of the time.” Parents can create that kind of environment by consistently welcoming questions and conversations about sex and relationships.


In a lot of ways, actions speak louder than words. The phrase “You can tell me anything” loses its meaning if parents respond to honest questions or information from children with punishments, aggressive reactions, elevated emotional responses or dismissiveness. Parents should be aware of their verbal and nonverbal responses, even when the conversation is difficult ― or children may start to feel uncomfortable sharing information out of fear of the adult’s reaction.

The phrase “You can tell me anything” loses its meaning if parents respond to honest questions or information from children with punishments, aggressive reactions, elevated emotional responses or dismissiveness.
“If children disclose abuse, it’s important to remember to center the child in the conversation, not the abuser or our reaction to the disclosure,” Cavill said. “This can be very difficult to do, but it’s important because reacting to disclosures of abuse with anger, disgust, shame, or denial violates our children’s trust, shuts down further conversations, and makes a vulnerable child more vulnerable.”

In(formation) email.
The reality of being a woman — by the numbers.
address@email.com
“The first time I was molested, I was 9. I disclosed that abuse, but was met with denial and a cover-up,” she continued. “When I was subjected to further abuse, I didn’t bother telling anyone because I’d been conditioned to expect protection for my abuser and none for myself. This contributed to an overall sense that, deep down, I deserved it.”

Identify Trusted Adults
As kids get older, parents should help them identify the trusted adults in their lives, like other family members, teachers and school counselors.

“Instead of assigning the label of ‘trusted adult’ to people in their world, ask the child, ‘Who do you feel you could trust if you needed help?’ or ‘Who would you feel comfortable talking to if you ever felt hurt and needed help?’” Carnagey said.

“Having more than one is ideal to ensure they have available supports when needed,” she added. Abusers are sometimes seen as trusted adults (as Nassar was for many families), so it’s helpful for kids to have a variety of people they can turn to.

Identifying multiple trusted adults can also help ease the challenges parents face. Just as kids need to know they can be honest about their experiences without being punished, parents need to be honest in turn. That can mean admitting when they feel vulnerable, when they make mistakes, when they don’t know things and when they need to seek additional support.

Make It Clear It’s Never Their Fault
Kids need to know they aren’t responsible for the adults around them, including their parents.

“Because children are dependent on adults to various degrees, they can feel responsible for the feelings and behaviors of the adults around them, especially those in formal positions of authority and those they care about deeply,” Cavill said. “Unfortunately, most sexual abuse happens within the context of close, familiar relationships and the #MeToo movement speaks to how common it is for people in positions of authority to abuse people they have power over.”

Cavill said she reaffirms to her young children that they are responsible for themselves, not the people around them, by telling them: “Mommy’s feelings are mommy’s job. You don’t have to fix them, they aren’t your responsibility.”

Mommy’s feelings are mommy’s job. You don’t have to fix them, they aren’t your responsibility.
Kim Cavill, sex education teacher
Parents can build on these messages as kids mature by talking about examples of healthy and unhealthy relationships and family expectations about behavior in romantic relationships. The website Talk With Your Kids offers resources to help guide these discussions.

Just as it’s important for children to know it’s not their fault if they experience unsafe touch, it’s also necessary to talk about respecting the boundaries and consent of others.


It’s “not uncommon for young children to experiment with initiating touch that could be unsafe to other children around the same age,” Carnagey said. “Even if that occurs, a child feeling safe to talk about it without fear of punishment, is integral in the process of redirecting the behavior toward safer interactions with others.”

Pay Attention To The Signs
Parents know what is typical behavior for their children, so they can be on the lookout for changes that may be a sign of something problematic.

“I want to make it very clear that there is no minimum threshold for seeking the services of a therapist, or calling RAINN. When in doubt, ask for help,” Cavill said. “That being said, there are some general signs parents should watch out for: sexual knowledge or behavior that is inappropriate for the child’s age, regressive bed wetting, a sudden refusal to change clothing or undress, sudden fear of being alone or away from primary caregivers, and an increase in anxiety.”

The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network publishes a list of warning signs to help determine if an adult is molesting or grooming children. These possible indicators of sexual abuse can be physical (unexplained bruising, bleeding or irritation to a child’s genital areas, for instance), behavioral (such as talking about sexual acts, as Cavill noted, or suddenly becoming shy about undressing), or emotional (like an increase in worrying, nightmares or fear of being alone).

As kids get older, they start to have more interactions outside the presence of their parents ― at school, in extracurriculars and during play dates. Carnagey encourages parents to set up a routine, uninterrupted time each day to check in with their children so they can stay connected to their kids’ experiences and feelings.

“This is great for noticing any subtle or big shifts in their mood or behaviors that can result from unsafe or challenging experiences,” she said. “Keeping an open, shame-free space for talks, no matter the topic, can increase the chance that a child will share with a trusted adult if something troubling is going on in their world.”

Know What To Do If Something Happens
If a child reports unsafe touch, it’s crucial to tell them that you believe them, that they did the right thing by coming to you, that they are not in trouble and that the incident was not their fault. Responding with love, compassion and acceptance is very important.

“Children often feel that they caused abuse, and perpetrators sometimes put the blame on the child,” Bowers said. “Reassure a child that they are not to blame, that they are loved and safe.”

If a child reports unsafe touch, it’s crucial to tell them that you believe them, that they did the right thing by coming to you, that they are not in trouble and that the incident was not their fault.
There are many helpful resources to help guide survivors and the trusted adults they tell about the abuse. RAINN and the organization 1in6 run hotlines and online chat services. Other organizations focus specifically on child sexual abuse, like Childhelp, National Children’s Alliance and Stop It Now! Cavill noted that if you feel a child is in immediate danger, you should call emergency services.

“Honest communication is important to maintaining trust and openness after a disclosure, so this can mean letting the child know that you may have to share the information with other adults whose job is to help keep them safe, like a medical provider if an exam is needed, a police officer, counselor or other trusted support,” Carnagey said. “Keeping a listening ear, without judgment or harsh reaction, will help the child feel more comfortable opening up.”

Carnagey also recommended that parents and caregivers seek out their own support, since disclosures can bring up a range of difficult emotions and even trigger past traumas. A parent or caregiver may feel tempted to turn inward, isolate themselves and allow feelings of shame or failure to take over.

“Parents should keep in mind that what another person may have done to their child was the unsafe decision of that person. It is not the parent’s fault,” Carnagey said. “A child who experiences unsafe touch is not ‘damaged.’ With support, the child and their family absolutely have an opportunity to thrive.”

“One Year Later: Larry Nassar And The Women Who Made Us Listen” is a seven-part series that commemorates the seven days women stood in Judge Rosemarie Aquilina’s Lansing, Michigan, courtroom last January and read powerful victim impact statements to former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State trainer Larry Nassar. Their words made history, forcing the country to finally listen and confront the abuse Nassar perpetrated. This series highlights the people who helped take Nassar down, as well as those he hurt for so long.

Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ho ... c3bbbdb667

greybeard58
Posts: 1942
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 11:40 pm

SafeSport in action

Post by greybeard58 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 3:23 pm

SafeSport discovers figure skating culture of 'grooming and abuse' that has gone 'unchecked for too long'
Christine Brennan, USA TODAY Published 9:32 a.m. ET March 4, 2019 | Updated 5:14 p.m. ET March 4, 2019

The U.S. Center for SafeSport delivered a chilling assessment of sexual misconduct in the sport of figure skating Monday morning, saying that in the course of its work on sexual misconduct allegations against the late national pairs champion John Coughlin, as well as other figure skating cases, it discovered “a culture in figure skating that allowed grooming and abuse to go unchecked for too long.

“The issues in this sport are similar to those the Center has seen in many others and cut across a wide population,” SafeSport said in a statement to USA TODAY. “This cannot be allowed to continue. The Center addresses these cultural issues every day through training and education and by, on a case-by-case basis, holding those who violate the (SafeSport) Code accountable.”

SafeSport spokesman Dan Hill said in a phone interview that SafeSport has become aware of these issues “with the reports we have been seeing and the anecdotal stories and evidence we have been receiving. Without getting into the specifics of any particular person, we have had people want to explain how the sport works, with concerns about how young women in particular are treated, especially in pairs skating.

“If you want to change the culture of this sport, people have to come forward. All covered individuals (USFS member coaches, staff, board members and officials, among others) have an obligation under the Code to report, and the Center does enforce that obligation. As we’ve seen with gymnastics, it takes brave people speaking up and enough of them to get a culture shift.”

USFS, the national governing body for the sport, replied to SafeSport in a statement of its own Monday afternoon:

“U.S. Figure Skating fully supports the mission of the U.S. Center for SafeSport and works in cooperation with the Center to help end abuse in sport. The Center has clearly stated it will not advance its investigation into the allegations against the late John Coughlin. U.S. Figure Skating is constantly striving to ensure athlete safety and looks forward to working with the Center to better understand the issues raised in this case.”

SafeSport's troubling evaluation of figure skating’s culture comes in the midst of a war of words between the Center and USFS over the status of the investigation of Coughlin, 33, who took his life Jan. 18, one day after he received an interim suspension from SafeSport. USA TODAY Sports has reported that Coughlin was facing three reports of sexual misconduct against him, two of them involving minors, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

Twice in the past six weeks, USFS has asked for the investigation to be completed, while SafeSport has maintained it cannot continue to investigate someone who has died.

In its new statement, SafeSport offered a stern and lengthy rebuttal to USFS:

“The Center has made its position regarding the Coughlin matter abundantly clear to USFS and the parties involved. The Center’s actions are consistent with the SafeSport Code and its mission. The Center cannot advance an investigation when the named respondent no longer presents a potential threat.

“The most severe sanction the Center can impose is permanent ineligibility to participate in sport,” it continued. “In this instance, the respondent’s eligibility to participate in sport is no longer at issue. Furthermore, the Center is dedicated to providing a fundamentally fair adjudicatory process. Indeed, fairness dictates that the Center not complete an investigation when it is impossible for the respondent to provide testimony regarding events about which only he would have knowledge. While the Center can proceed with an investigation where a respondent voluntarily elects not to participate in the process, it cannot and would not complete an investigation when a respondent is deceased.”

Last week, USFS sent a letter to SafeSport saying “the lack of a completed investigation has produced great uncertainty…innuendo and continued speculation” concerning the allegations against Coughlin.

Coughlin was a well-known presence at skating competitions and rinks around the country as a coach, TV commentator and a rising star within the leadership ranks of both USFS and the International Skating Union, the sport’s worldwide federation.

In a Jan. 7 email to USA TODAY, Coughlin called the allegations against him “unfounded.”

“While I wish I could speak freely about the unfounded allegations levied against me, the SafeSport rules prevent me from doing so since the case remains pending,” he wrote. “I note only that the SafeSport notice of allegation itself stated that an allegation in no way constitutes a finding by SafeSport or that there is any merit to the allegation."

Coughlin’s assertion that he was being prevented from speaking freely about the allegations against him by SafeSport “is not true,” Hill said.

“The SafeSport Code and the interim measure process that was communicated to him directly, and which is on our website, makes it clear that he could provide information, evidence, speak for himself and even ask for a hearing that would have been accommodated in 72 hours by rule,” he said. “That hearing would have been in front of an independent arbitrator. That’s such a critical part of all of this.”

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/o ... 053528002/

greybeard58
Posts: 1942
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 11:40 pm

Re: Does MSHSL or Mn Hockey have such a list of banned coaches

Post by greybeard58 » Fri May 17, 2019 7:11 pm

While this is an old story but this was released today. Whether it concerns males or female athlete's what is important that colleges protect their own more than athletes.
Shocking’: Ohio State doc abused 177, officials were aware
By KANTELE FRANKO and JULIE CARR SMYTH
an hour ago


A report released on Friday, May 17, 2017, found that the now-dead Ohio State team doctor sexually abused at least 177 male students from the 1970s through the 1990s, and numerous university officials got wind of what was going on over the years but did little or nothing to stop him. (WBNS-TV via AP)
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A now-dead Ohio State team doctor sexually abused at least 177 male students from the 1970s through the 1990s, and numerous university officials got wind of what was going on over the years but did little or nothing to stop him, according to a report released by the school Friday.

Dr. Richard Strauss groped or ogled young men while treating athletes from at least 16 sports and working at the student health center and his off-campus clinic, investigators from a law firm hired by the university found.

“We are so sorry that this happened,” Ohio State President Michael Drake said at a news conference, using words like “shocking,” ″horrifying” and “heartbreaking” to describe the findings.


He said there was a “consistent institutional failure” at Ohio State, the nation’s third-largest university, with nearly 65,000 students and a half-million living alumni. The school “fell short of its responsibility to its students, and that’s regrettable and inexcusable.”

At the same time, Drake, who has led the institution since 2014, sought to distance Ohio State from what happened more than two decades ago: “This is not the university of today.”

The report on Strauss, who killed himself at age 67 in 2005 nearly a decade after he was allowed to retire with honors, could cost Ohio State dearly by corroborating lawsuits brought against it by a multitude of victims.

The findings put Strauss in a league with gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar of Michigan State University, who was accused of molesting at least 250 women and girls and is serving what amounts to a life sentence. Michigan State ultimately settled with his victims for $500 million.

Similarly, the Jerry Sandusky child sexual-abuse scandal that brought down legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno in 2011 has cost the university more than a quarter-billion dollars in settlements, fines, legal costs and other expenses.

The abuse at Ohio State went on from 1979 to 1997 and took place at various locations across campus, including examining rooms, locker rooms, showers and saunas, according to investigators. Strauss, among other things, contrived to get young men to strip naked and groped them sexually.

The report describes one patient who came in with strep throat. Strauss spent five minutes fondling his genitals and never examined another part of the body. Another victim had grown up in a rural area and had never had a proper medical exam; Strauss put a stethoscope on his penis.

Many told investigators that they thought his behavior was an “open secret” and that they believed their coaches, trainers and other team doctors knew was going on. The students described the examinations as being “hazed” or going through a “rite of passage.” Athletes joked about Strauss’ behavior, referring to him with nicknames like “Dr. Jelly Paws.”

The report concluded that scores of Ohio State personnel knew of complaints and concerns about Strauss’ conduct as early as 1979 but failed for years to investigate or take meaningful action.

Ohio State Provost Bruce McPheron said the report does not address whether anyone went to law enforcement at the time or was required to do so under the law back then.

In the wake of the findings, some of Strauss’ victims called on the university to take responsibility for its inaction and the harm inflicted by the doctor.

“Dreams were broken, relationships with loved ones were damaged, and the harm now carries over to our children, as many of us have become so overprotective that it strains the relationship with our kids,” Kent Kilgore said in a statement.

Steve Estey, an attorney for some of the former students who are suing, said: “If OSU refuses to take responsibility we will continue with civil litigation and put this in front of a jury for 12 people to judge their actions.”

No one has publicly defended Strauss, though family members have said they were shocked by the allegations.

At least 50 members of the athletic department staff, including many coaches, corroborated victims’ accounts of Strauss’ abuse, the report said. But students’ allegations never left the department or the health center until 1996.

At that point, Strauss was investigated and let go as a team doctor and physician at the health center but was allowed to retain his tenured faculty position.

Investigators said Strauss set up an off-campus clinic within months, receiving assurances from the associate vice president of health sciences and academic affairs that “there would be no issue” with him engaging in part-time private practice while on the faculty. The abuse continued there.

He continued to plead for his job back as an on-campus doctor, finally going to then-President Gordon Gee with a letter in 1997. His pleas were rejected, at which point Strauss was allowed to retire with emeritus status, a mark of honor. Gee, now president of West Virginia University, said Friday he has no recollection of Strauss.

Former nursing student Brian Garrett said he briefly did administrative work at the off-campus clinic but stopped after witnessing abuse by Strauss and then experiencing it himself.

“I thought all along he hid that from the university,” said Garrett. “Now I find out they actually knew about the off-campus clinic, are you kidding me?” He added: “I’m mad. I thought I was mad before.”

The lawsuits against Ohio State are headed for mediation. They seek unspecified damages. Drake said the investigation alone has cost the school $6.2 million.

Separately, the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights is examining whether Ohio State responded promptly and fairly to students’ complaints. The department could cut the university’s federal funding if it is found to have violated civil rights protections.

Before Friday’s release, the doctor’s accusers had alleged that Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan was one of the coaches back then who were aware of suspicions about Strauss and didn’t stop him. Jordan, an assistant wrestling coach from 1987 to 1995, was not mentioned by name in the report, and a spokesman said the document showed the congressman did not know about the abuse.

___

This story has been corrected to show that it was Provost Bruce McPheron, not President Michael Drake, who said the report is unclear on whether anyone contacted law enforcement.

___

Associated Press writers John Seewer in Toledo and Andrew Welsh-Huggins and Mitch Stacy in Columbus contributed to this report.

https://apnews.com/8100ceaf06c44dc2a85bea4c5daff04f

greybeard58
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Child abusers groom victims and their families

Post by greybeard58 » Sun Jun 02, 2019 6:08 am

Child abusers groom victims and their families. That's why this new Olympic abuse prevention policy is so flawed.
There are best practices to help stop child predators, and then there's the SafeSport plan for children's athletic programs.

May 28, 2019, 3:24 AM CDT
By Dani Bostick
"Every parent thinks their child will tell them if someone touched them inappropriately," Nancy Hogshead-Makar, an Olympic athlete and CEO of Champion Women, recently told me. "But by the time that happens, the child is well-groomed, and it is too late. Research shows that children do not tell their parents." And, since most survivors of child sexual abuse do not disclose the abuse, abusers often continue to enjoy the trust of their victim’s family, and continue to abuse.
As documentaries such as "Leaving Neverland" and "Abducted in Plain Sight" showed, abusers do not just groom individual victims, they also groom entire families and even communities. Parents do not intentionally expose their children to harm, but often feel honored that a respected adult has taken a special interest in their child. Once predators have secured their trust, parents believe that they are providing a positive experience for their child with a person they consider safe. This part of the process of grooming enables abuse and hinders disclosure.
In the context of the Olympic movement and children’s dreams of gold, the special attention of experts in the sport is often welcomed by parents and children alike, interpreted as a sign that a child has exceptional athletic potential. When perpetrators have the trust of parents and the community — as serial sexual predator Larry Nassar did — they have unquestioned and unencumbered access to their victims, often when those children are far from home or help.
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This is why experts agree that limiting one-on-one interactions between child athletes and adults affiliated with the sports is key to limiting — or hopefully eliminating — abuse.
And yet, on June 23, the U.S. Center for SafeSport, an independent organization tasked with preventing abuse in sports, will require the national governing bodies that manage individual Olympic sports to adopt their incredibly flawed Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policies.
The major flaw in the rules is that, with parental permission, coaches can travel alone with children. Even worse, this policy allows coaches to interact with children outside of program activities, including at their homes, restaurants and other locations, if parents provide permission.
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No policy should allow for the possibility of uninterrupted time alone, especially in the context of travel; everything we have learned in the past few years shows that sexual predators quite often obtain parental permission. Requiring parental permission for these activities might prevent kidnapping, but it does not prevent abuse. The fact is that many abusers do not have to kidnap their victims in order to have one-on-one access, simply because their victims’ parents have trusted them.
According to Darkness to Light, 90 percent of children who are sexually abused know their abusers; 30 percent of abusers are related to their victims, while 60 percent are nonrelatives who have gained the trust of the children’s families.
And a list of red flags for potential abusers from Stop It Now! includes: “Insists on or manages to spend uninterrupted time alone with a child.” For this reason, many school districts have explicit policies prohibiting staff from spending time alone with students outside of school activities, which includes providing transportation to students in nonemergency situations.

California swim coach Dia Randa told me, “Never, ever should one-on-one travel be allowed with a minor. This is the context for some of the most insidious abuse in the sport of swimming.”
Debra Denithorne Grodensky, a survivor of abuse in swimming, explained to me, “That policy could not be more detrimental to athletes and parents. My parents were groomed just as much by my swim coach as I was.”
Though the new rules do require abuse-prevention training for adults and minors — again with parental permission — it fails to limit the role of the adult or address the power imbalance between the adult and minor, a cornerstone of abuse prevention policies. Instead, the SafeSport document claims that, “Policies concerning one-on-one interactions protect children while allowing for these beneficial relationships.”
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But strong policies are not simply comprised of lists of prohibitions and exceptions; they frame the terms of professionalism, set ethical standards and include overarching principles that help stakeholders understand healthy boundaries and appropriate relationships between adults and minors in a specific context. The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, for example, defines boundaries as “limits which protect the space between the professional’s power and the client’s vulnerability.”And Spokane Schools prohibits “singling out a particular student or students for personal attention and friendship beyond the professional staff-student relationship.”

Not only do the new rules fail to prohibit this type of grooming behavior, they do not give parents, coaches or other stakeholders any information about an appropriate adult-athlete relationship in the context of sports. In the absence of clear guidance from SafeSport, governing bodies like USA Swimming have developed their own materials that actually promote poor boundaries by framing the coach as a mentor in whom children can confide about “anything weighing on your mind.” Yet, a Queensland College of Teachers’ documentation professional boundaries, lists “offering advice on personal matters” as a breach of professional boundaries. And, the Ropes and Gray report into Larry Nassar identified this exact kind of personal attention as a way Nassar groomed his patients, “Nassar groomed his patients by acting as a caring ‘friend’ in the often harsh world of competitive gymnastics.”

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But perhaps the most insidious problem with SafeSport’s Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policies is that, by virtue of their existence and promotion, parents and guardians will reasonably assume that these policies are effective and comprehensive. Dr. Julia Rudolph, an expert in sexual abuse prevention and researcher at Griffith University, told me, “I think that parents do need information about perpetrator modus operandi, for example, what incentives they use and the relationship they develop with the child and the parents. They need to know the script of sexual offending and then protective behaviors need to be tailored exactly to those things.”

Reducing boundaries and abuse prevention to a list of prohibited behaviors does not equip parents and other adults to recognize warning signs nor convey the appropriate role of the adult in the child’s life. This policy would not have prevented the abuse described in "Finding Neverland" or in the Ropes and Gray report on Nassar. Parents and children deserve strong, effective policies against abuse from a highly decentralized and unregulated system of youth programs — and especially from an organization that calls itself SafeSport.

Dani Bostick
Dani Bostick is an educator, advocate, and former mental health counselor. Her work on trauma, child sexual abuse and rape culture has appeared in the Washington Post, The Week, Marie Claire, Parenting, and Huffington Post, among others.

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/c ... cna1010186

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