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

Discussion of Minnesota Girls High School Hockey

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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 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 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, , 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 ... story.html

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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.

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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. ... 518649002/

Another article same subject more detail. ... nstatement

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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

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. ... story.html

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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. ... 518649002/

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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 ... 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: ... 1832440593

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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 ... 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.”
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 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 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.”
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.
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. ... 1826279217

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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.
“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. ... c3bbbdb667

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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.” ... 053528002/

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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
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.

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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.
Gymnastics culture is rotten to the core. Larry Nassar is just the beginning.
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.
Why we treat Larry Nassar's victims differently than Jerry Sandusky's
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.”
New report suggests culture that enabled Larry Nassar and my abuser still exists
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.”

Michael Jackson's fans don't want to think he hurt kids. But hardly anyone does.
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. ... cna1010186

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Larry Nassar is in jail, but only one USOC official was fired?

Post by greybeard58 » Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:44 am

Larry Nassar is in jail, but only one USOC official was fired? Yes, we need reform.

By Sally Jenkins
June 17 at 8:23 PM
What do we need with another blue-ribbon commission, the world wonders? The answer is that congressional overseers still haven’t gotten the full answers they want from the U.S. Olympic Committee, much less results, and so they are doing what they do, ramping up more panels and hearings. Which, unfortunately, are needed, if only to finally answer a single question: How come, in the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal, just one person at the USOC got fired, instead of the whole pack?

That was the question posed by Judge Rosemarie Aquilina at a news conference Monday to announce new congressional legislation aimed at reforming the USOC. Aquilina, who presided over Nassar’s trial and heard the testimony of hundreds of victims, expected “accountability, transparency and meaningful change” in the USOC after the case was over. Especially given the powerful public testimony of athletes such as gold medal gymnast Aly Raisman about the stunning enabling of Nassar by Olympic officials. Instead, Aquilina has seen just more of the same old inaction.
“As a judge, I can say that you cannot rely on us — on the legal system — because by the time you see us and meet us, there is a problem,” Aquilina said.
[Congresswoman says USOC has ‘failed’ and introduces bill to start overhaul]
Aquilina spoke in Denver at the invitation of Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), chair of the U.S. House subcommittee investigating the Olympic sexual abuse cases, who put forward a House version of the legislation introduced earlier this year in the Senate by Cory Gardner ¬(R-Colo.).

The lawmakers want an independent, bipartisan, ¬16-member board to investigate and make recommendations for reshaping the USOC, armed with subpoena power to look into everything from finances to board governance. The bill is needed, and it should pass.

“We had hearings, and, frankly, even though we have met with USOC leadership, still we haven’t had a resolution,” DeGette said.
Translate that from stentorian legislator-speak, and what it means is, “We’re not happy with their cooperation.”
Maybe the most important part of the proposed legislation would be the makeup of the commission: DeGette and Gardner want it stocked with a minimum of eight Olympic athletes. Under the bill, the top Democratic and Republican lawmakers in both the House and Senate would also each appoint four members.
No masters of the universe, or corporate honchos, or “branding” experts, flourishing the crests on their blazers and their VIP tickets while they pick the shrimp from the ice sculpture at the IOC buffet. There have been far too many of those within the USOC’s grossly overpaid and over-perked ranks.
It’s time for fresh eyes.

The 1978 Amateur Sports Act — the law that established the USOC charter and gave it nonprofit tax status — is badly outdated. It rests on the old code of amateurism, in which the athlete was powerless and treated like a child by patriarchal benefactors wearing boating shoes. “Congress hasn’t re-looked or reexamined this since,” Gardner said.

Intermittent attempts to update or improve the USOC have generally been geared toward upping medal counts. Over the years, Congress was so essentially lax in its oversight that it allowed the USOC to grow into a bloated monopoly under the guise of “nonprofit,” in which athletes scraped for funding while desk officers such as disgraced USOC chief Scott Blackmun made million-dollar salaries. “We failed” is how DeGette put it simply.

What’s needed is a comprehensive review that will result in an entire redistribution of power, and of funding, in favor of the athlete. “Most people don’t understand how the money flows, and that works to the benefit of the administrative class,” said gold medal swimmer-turned-attorney Nancy Hogshead-Makar. “We need a new look and a fresh look at how we’re going to organize the Olympic movement, and we need to make sure our Olympic committee matches where the athletes are.”

Nassar could only have flourished in a system in which athletes were afraid to complain or speak up for fear of displeasing the administrators who held the purse strings. As former gold medal swimmer B.J. Bedford described it, athletes have understood that if they complained, “This can only end badly for me, so I’m not going to say anything.”
The commission would finally bring “the voices who have been ignored to the table,” Aquilina said. “Athletes cannot thrive in a broken system that values money and medals over the safety of athletes.”

You’d think another commission or report wouldn’t be needed after so many congressional hearings in 2018. But to date, the USOC’s organization in charge of fielding abuse complaints, SafeSport, remains uncertainly funded and empowered. Nobody has heard from Blackmun under oath, and the old structure clearly was flawed. Olympic administrators failed to protect a generation of athletes from sexual abusers in a multitude of sports, despite earning salaries larger than some victims will get in settlements.
The overhaul will have to come from without. It certainly hasn’t come from within.

Read more:
Victims say the USOC deserves blame for America’s Olympic sex abuse problem

Every six weeks for more than 36 years: When will sex abuse in Olympic sports end? ... cddaba6941

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Skating Coach Pleads Guilty To Having Sex With Underage Student

Post by greybeard58 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:28 pm

Skating Coach Pleads Guilty To Having Sex With Underage Student
June 18, 2019 at 3:50 pmFiled Under:Sexual Assault, Thomas Joseph Incantalupo

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A former figure skating coach has pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct for having sex with a student of his when she was between 14 and 16 years old.

The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said 48-year-old Thomas Incantalupo, of St. Louis Park, pleaded guilty in court Tuesday morning.

The charges state Incantalupo repeatedly sexually assaulted one of his students, who he had started coaching when she was about 9 years old. The girl traveled with Incantalupo across the country for training and competition, often alone.

The complaint states the sexual abuse began in 2015, when the girl was 14 years old and they traveled to Connecticut for training. They were staying at the home of another figure skating coach when Incantalupo slipped into her room one night and assaulted her.

According to the complaint, the abuse continued when Incantalupo took the girl to Argentina for coaching seminars he taught where she demonstrated movements. The complaint says he took the girl from the practice rink in Eden Prairie to a hotel and sexually abused her there and brought her back to the rink in time for her parents to pick her up.

He did the same thing the next three months before the girl told a friend what was happening. Her parents became aware, and went to police. At police requests, the girl wore a wire and when she met Incantalupo at the rink, she told him she no longer wanted sexual contact from him. He acknowledged the hotel visits and the sexual contact in the recording and was arrested by Eden Prairie police.

On Tuesday, Incantalupo admitted to taking his victim to a hotel more than once to have sex with her. He agreed to plead guilty to one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

The county attorney’s office said that he also admitted to aggravating factors which will allow prosecutors to seek the statutory maximum sentence of 30 years, and that he would serve no less than 12 years in prison.

His sentencing is set for Sept. 27 at 9 a.m. ... e-student/

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Can USA Swimming address sexual abuse without a Larry Nassar moment?

Post by greybeard58 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:24 pm

Can USA Swimming address sexual abuse without a Larry Nassar moment?
Can a governing body stop sexual abuse and make a culture change without that one galvanizing media-ready moment?

Beau Dure

Thu 11 Jul 2019 10.00 BST Last modified on Thu 11 Jul 2019 10.14 BST
World swimming championships
The Nambu Municipal Aquatic Center in Gwangju will host the 2019 Fina world championships this month. Photograph: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
As all sports try to address sexual abuse, USA Swimming’s efforts raise two questions:

Can a sports governing body stop sexual abuse without nonstop scrutiny from the media, lawmakers and the US Olympic Committee? And can prevention work best when that organization places some of its efforts toward educating parents and athletes themselves?

The spotlight still shines most intently on USA Gymnastics, which remains in the news nearly 18 months after the dramatic courtroom scenes in which scores of survivors confronted Larry Nassar, the doctor who will almost certainly spend the rest of his life in prison. USAG’s scrutiny continues with a new lawsuit, dissection of a hiring gone wrong, a documentary on how Nassar got away with his crimes for so long, and the looming threat of decertification.

USA Swimming, on the the other hand, hasn’t been publicly castigated by the US Olympic Committee, by Congress, or by the media to the same extent. When USA Swimming CEO Tim Hinchey appeared before a Congressional subcommittee alongside other NGB representatives in May 2018, lawmakers and the media put the bulk of the focus on USA Gymnastics CEO Kerry Perry, who didn’t last long in the job.

By that time, USA Swimming’s responsibilities and tactics had already changed. The NGB released Safe Sport educational material to parents in 2017.

Over the years, USA Swimming’s issues have received scattered media coverage:

In 2010, ESPN and ABC found swimming coaches easily evaded background checks and moved from club to club. The focal point was Andy King, who stayed one step ahead of investigators until his arrest in 2009. The next year, he was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
In 2014, the same year in which an independent review of sexual abuse (Vieth Report) was released and activists stopped longtime USA Swimming executive Chuck Wielgus from being inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame, Outside magazine ran a comprehensive piece accusing USA Swimming of having a “hands-off” attitude toward sexual abuse cases.
In 2018, the Orange County Register published an investigation claiming hundreds of swimmers have been sexually abused while USA Swimming wrestled with various conflicts of interest and an unwillingness to act.
The numbers in the Register’s piece were staggering. Over a 20-year span, at least 252 coaches and officials faced either criminal charges or USA Swimming discipline for sexual abuse or misconduct against at least 590 alleged victims.

But USA Swimming has never had that one galvanizing media-ready moment such as the Nassar courtroom scenes. And one of the few lawsuits to go forward against the organization involves a coach-swimmer relationship, which – justifiably or not – just doesn’t stir up the same amount of shock as a doctor taking advantage of young girls in his care. American culture has long seen joy and humor in relationships with an age and power imbalance – see the 1979 Woody Allen film Manhattan or the 2016 Saturday Night Live sketch about a teacher-student escapade.

In the swimming community itself, ending coach-student relationships requires a culture change. The Vieth Report notes USA Swimming’s delegates voted against a prohibition of such relationships in 2012, only to be forced into such a ban when the USOC required it the next year. Other sports have seen prominent athletes marry their college coaches, though the relationships have usually started when the athletes were adults.

In the lawsuit against USA Swimming, 2012 Olympian Ariana Kukors Smith claims her coach started grooming her for sexual abuse at age 13 and molested her at age 16. The coach, Sean Hutchison, claims the relationship in question was consensual and didn’t start until the swimmer was an adult.

USA Swimming is a defendant because lawyers claim the organization carried out a woefully inadequate investigation when alerted to the relationship. The lawsuit notes that the NGB’s Safe Sport director, Susan Woessner, was forced out in 2018 for failing to disclose that she had her own relationship with Hutchison before investigating the matter.

Bob Allard, the attorney representing Kukors Smith and many other athletes, claims USA Swimming had a systemic problem with internal investigations carried out by an opaque and ineffective National Board of Review. The organization’s lawyers, on the other hand, were quite effective.

One example of where the liability has fallen: A swimmer won a $1.5m settlement from a Washington parks and rec department that employed King, the coach now serving a 40-year prison term. Meanwhile, USA Swimming settled quietly with one of King’s victims in California.

“There has been a concerted effort back to the 1990s on behalf of USA Swimming to quash all victims’ complaints,” Allard says.

Another factor working against claimants was a side effect, intentional or otherwise, of USA Swimming forming a “captive” insurance company, US Sports Insurance Company Inc (USSIC). Captive companies are legal and were popular when adequate commercial insurance was difficult to obtain in the 1980s.

USSIC managed to limit financial risk for USA Swimming and its member clubs, making early settlements the best option for most legal complaints. The company also provided “safety rebates” that gave USA Swimming a financial incentive to be aggressive in court.

This system, Allard says, helped to enable hundreds of Larry Nassars.

What has changed?

First, USSIC was moved from Barbados to the USA and then sold.

Second, while the federation hasn’t had quite as much turnover as USA Gymnastics, a few top staffers have left. Wielgus retired in 2017. (He passed away a few months later.) Woessner’s resignation over the Hutchison case coincided with another departure by longtime staff member Pat Hogan.

Third, the USOC has realized that it needs to follow the same course of action with athlete abuse that it has with doping issues – spin off an independent entity that takes the role of policing away from the NGBs that face an inherent conflict of interest in policing themselves. As doping falls under the auspices of the US Anti-Doping Agency, abuse issues now fall under the US Center for SafeSport.

Fourth, federal law has changed. The Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017, passed in February 2018, requires NGBs to keep one-on-one interactions between minors and adults to situations with “an observable and interruptible distance from another adult, except under emergency circumstances.” The NGBs have had to figure out what this means in their respective sports.

For USA Swimming, that means new policies on locker rooms, massages and travel, all designed to virtually eliminate any possibility that a coach and a swimmer will be alone together.

Also, swimmers need to take a step back from the 21st century and copy their guardians on any communication with a coach and vice versa. That applies to social media as well. Forget those texts asking if practice has been moved or those messages of support on a Facebook page. These changes have caused a bit of confusion, particularly in regards to college recruiting.

USA Swimming continues to have a director of Safe Sport (USA Swimming adds a space in “Safe Sport” while the US Center for SafeSport does not), replacing Woessner with Abigail Howard, who has worked in several university compliance offices and worked on child abuses cases as a deputy prosecutor.

While the Center has jurisdiction over sexual abuse cases, USA Swimming’s internal Safe Sport department oversees a broader range of code-of-conduct violations and works on education programs, including those designed to teach parents and athletes how to keep coaches and other officials from preying on their naivete.

“That’s certainly a change for anyone involved in youth sports,” Howard says. “What we’ve received in feedback isn’t so much that this is a bad policy but, ‘How do we do it? Is there an app we can use? Is copying that to a parent sufficient?’”

Most importantly, parents learn to be alert to any tactic predators have learned in the past.

USA Swimming still has a few watchdogs in quiet corners of the Internet, and the NGB recognizes that more progress is needed. But if Congress wants to call NGBs to another hearing on Capitol Hill, the NGBs may turn right around and ask representatives why they aren’t funding the US Center for SafeSport.

And as the swimming world championships approach in July, expect to hear much more about Katie Ledecky, Simone Manuel and Ryan Murphy than we hear about Sean Hutchison or Andy King.

Then we’ll see if quiet efforts to arm families with information will stem the tide of sexual abuse.

Can USA Swimming address sexual abuse without a Larry Nassar moment? | Sport | The Guardian ... sar-moment

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Senate panel: Negligence by Olympic, USA Gymnastics officials enabled abuse by ex-team doctor Nassar

Post by greybeard58 » Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:16 am

The proposal below if passed would separate Safesport from all National Governing Bodies such as USA Hockey. Should Safesport also be separate entity in the state of Minnesota separate from any state or local governing organization?

Senate panel: Negligence by Olympic, USA Gymnastics officials enabled abuse by ex-team doctor Nassar
By Liz Clarke July 30 at 4:00 AM

Following an 18-month inquiry into the factors that enabled USA Gymnastics’ former team doctor to sexually abuse more than 300 athletes over a two-decade span, a congressional subcommittee Tuesday will introduce legislation designed to ensure the safety of Olympic and amateur athletes ­going forward.

In broad stokes, the Empowering Olympic and Amateur Athletes Act of 2019, if approved, would mandate significant reform of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee governance structure in three key areas.

The changes are being recommended after a bipartisan Senate Commerce subcommittee, led by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal ­(D-Conn.), reached conclusions of negligent behavior on the part of former executives of the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics following a review of thousands of documents, four hearings and interviews with athletes, survivors, coaches, parents, advocates, Olympic officials and law enforcement officers.

Although Larry Nassar, the former team physician for USA Gymnastics, acted alone and is now serving an effective life sentence for child pornography and sexually abusing girls and young women under the guise of medical treatment, the congressional panel concluded the negligence of the USOC and USA Gymnastics enabled his abuse.

Moreover, the panel concluded the USOC and USA Gymnastics “knowingly concealed abuse by Larry Nassar, leading to the abuse of dozens of additional amateur athletes from summer 2015 to September 2016.”

(The USOC changed its name last month to the USOPC to be more inclusive by recognizing Paralympic athletes.)

The panel also concluded gymnastics was not the only setting for the abuse of prospective Olympians. Rather, in a fact pattern repeated in other Olympic sports, institutions “failed to act aggressively to report wrongdoing,” and officials in positions of power “prioritized their own reputation or the reputation of [a sport’s national governing body] over the health and safety of the athletes” and tried to conceal their negligence.

Moran and Blumenthal addressed the findings and discussed the remedies proposed in their bill during a conference call Monday. They characterized it as “a moment of reckoning,” one year in advance of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“Larry Nassar was not a lone wolf; he was not the only predator or monster out there,” Blumenthal said. “The USOC has to be made accountable, and that’s one of the key goals of this legislation.”

Added Moran: “We want to change the culture and thought process so there are no more ­. . . victims of sexual abuse.”

To that end, the bill they will introduce Tuesday calls for governance changes in three key ­areas:

●Increasing the legal liability for the USOPC and the 47 individual sport-specific governing bodies under its umbrella, such as USA Gymnastics, for incidents of sexual abuse by coaches and employees. In addition, the USOPC would be required to maintain a public list of all banned coaches, to ensure they are not simply rehired elsewhere. Moreover, Congress would have the right and means to dissolve the ­USOPC’s board of directors for failure to fulfill its oversight responsibility, as well as to decertify individual sports’ governing ­bodies for their failures.

●Giving athletes a larger voice in the governance of the USOPC and in their respective sports. Specifically, the representation of athletes on the Olympic committee’s board would increase from one-fifth to one-third. Athletes’ representation in each sport’s governing body would also increase to the same level, from one-fifth to one-third.

●Strengthening the Center for SafeSport, which was created as an independent, nonprofit clearinghouse and advocate for ­Olympians and would-be Olympians who feel they are being physically, mentally or sexually abused. The bill would require the USOPC to provide the center $20 million per year to do its work more effectively. Moreover, to ensure the center’s independence, employees of the USOPC or individual sports’ governing bodies would be barred from serving at the center, to guard against improper interference.

Scott Blackmun, the former USOC chief executive who was forced to resign in February 2018, apologized for Nassar’s abuse in written testimony but also maintained that the USOC had no authority over Nassar, foisting the oversight role on USA Gymnastics. Blackmun received a $2.4 million severance from the USOC board.

Blackmun’s successor, Sarah Hirshland, said in a statement Monday that the proposed legislation was consistent with the reforms the USOPC has already undertaken but raised an unspecified concern about “unintended consequences.”

“We applaud Congress for their continued work on this critically important issue,” she said. “There are sections in the proposed legislation that, while conceptually appropriate, could result in unintended consequences and disruption for athletes in operational reality. We look forward to working with Senators Moran, Blumenthal and others in Congress to address these areas, make athletes more safe, and make Olympic and Paralympic organizations in the U.S. as exceptional as the athletes they serve.”

Li Li Leung, president and CEO of USA Gymnastics, said in a statement released Tuesday that her organization also has implemented many changes the panel called for.

“We, as an organization, not only have increased accountability to our membership, but also to the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and the U.S. Center for SafeSport,” Leung said. “We pledge to become a community of education, prevention and care, and acknowledge and accept that we need to and can do better for our athletes and the community as a whole. We admire the survivors’ courage and strength in sharing their stories, and our goal is to do everything we can to prevent the opportunity for it to happen again.”

John C. Manly, an attorney who represents nearly 200 Nassar victims, praised the legislation after reviewing a draft Monday — particularly its finding that the USOPC engaged in what he called “systemic criminality” in enabling Nassar’s abuse.

“It essentially guts the USOC’s power in the area of athlete safety,” Manly said, “by saying: ‘You’re no longer policing yourself. We’re policing you.’ Oversight is no fun if you’re engaged in bad behavior.”

But three-time Olympic swimming gold medalist Nancy ­Hogshead-Makar — a co-founder of Team Integrity, a group of 150 athlete advocates who feel the USOPC needs a more substantive overhaul to properly safeguard athletes — found it lacking.

“What is important to athletes is to prevent the possibility of another Scott Blackmun, a corrupt leader, and a Larry Nassar, someone who took advantage of the Olympic system to abuse athletes,” Hogshead-Makar said after reviewing the bill. “This legislation does not prevent either of those possibilities. We asked Congress for changes to governance that would allow athletes more control of the budget and their futures, and this legislation does not do that.” ... story.html

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Olympic champion figure skating coach banned for life for sexual misconduct claims

Post by greybeard58 » Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:28 pm

Olympic champion figure skating coach banned for life for sexual misconduct claims

By Cindy Boren August 22 at 9:02 AM
Richard Callaghan, the longtime U.S. figure skating coach best known for leading Tara Lipinski to a 1998 Olympic gold medal, was declared “permanently ineligible” Wednesday by the U.S. Center for SafeSport because of sexual misconduct allegations “involving a minor.”

The ban, first reported by USA Today, came 12 days after Adam Schmidt, now 34, filed a lawsuit in San Diego alleging that Callaghan had abused him from 1999 to 2001 while coaching him. The U.S. Figure Skating Association, the sport’s governing body, and Onyx Ice Arena in Detroit, where Callaghan coached Schmidt, were named as defendants in the lawsuit, which alleges “numerous sexual assaults.” Callaghan, who also coached Todd Eldredge to the 1996 world championship and six national titles, had been suspended by SafeSport and USFS in March 2018 pending allegations of abuse that were first lodged against him more than 20 years ago.

Callaghan, 73, has denied the allegations, and attorney John Manly, who represents Schmidt and has represented more than 180 victims of sexual abuse in the U.S. Gymnastics scandal, criticized USFS. “This should have been done in the ’90s when USFS first knew,” Manly wrote in a text message to USA Today’s Christine Brennan. “It’s good news but small comfort to those Callaghan hurt. Clearly this move is in response to the horrible press USFS received in response to Adam Schmidt’s filing. You shouldn’t have to file a lawsuit to protect kids from child molesters in Olympic sports.”

The alleged abuse that triggered the ban dates to 1999, when USFS dismissed accusations by Craig Maurizi, now 56, that Callaghan had inappropriate sexual conduct with him in 1976, when Maurizi was 13. He later alleged that Callaghan had initiated a sexual relationship with him when he was 18 and continued it for four years. After that, the sexual conduct occurred sporadically for another 12 years, Maurizi told USA Today.

Maurizi’s allegations were reported to SafeSport, the two-year-old independent nonprofit that provides information on abuse prevention, policies and programs, on Jan. 31, 2018, and Callaghan was suspended March 6, with USFS’s suspension following. Callaghan sued SafeSport, but that lawsuit was dismissed by a judge last year. Schmidt’s lawsuit accuses USFS of not investigating Maurizi’s complaints and dismissing a grievance he filed with the national governing body in 1999 because the organization’s bylaws stipulated that alleged misconduct must be reported within 60 days. Callaghan at that point continued to coach and Schmidt’s complaint states that the decision allowed Callaghan’s alleged abuse to “continue unabated.” As a result, he experienced “anxiety, depression, fear, grief and stress,” the lawsuit states.

Earlier this month, USFS told ABC news that “Maurizi’s case prompted U.S. Figure Skating to examine its rules and procedures in the area of Athlete Safety.” It maintains that it “has acted promptly on every incident reported to it of suspected sexual abuse or misconduct since the new policy was enacted in May 2000.”

Dean Groulx, a Michigan-based attorney who represents Callaghan, said in a statement sent to ABC News earlier this month that the “allegations are 100 percent false. There is no truth to them.”

Maurizi told the New York Times Wednesday that he finally feels vindicated. “This guy’s a monster. This man has ruined the lives and careers of many people. I believe he should be punished to whatever extent is possible.”

Schmidt called the ban “a major victory” for skaters, telling the Times, “now he will be forever known as the predator who delivered medals to a corrupt organization who accepted them in exchange for the safety and protection of children.”

Earlier this year, SafeSport warned in a statement about “a culture” in figure skating, where athletes often are minors when they begin training, that creates and tolerates sexual abuse. John Coughlin, a coach and commentator, died by suicide in January after he received a temporary suspension from the federation while SafeSport was investigating sexual conduct allegations against him. Bridget Namiotka, Coughlin’s former pairs partner, and Ashley Wagner, the most decorated U.S. female skater of her era as a three-time national champion and winner of a team bronze medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics, accused him of sexually abusing them when they were minors.

t is evident that there was/is a culture in figure skating that allowed grooming and abuse to go unchecked for too long,” it said in March (via ABC). “The issues in this sport are similar to those the Center has seen in many others and cut across a wide population. This cannot be allowed to continue.”

USFS “strongly” refuted “the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s March 4 statement but shares the Center’s mission to make athlete well-being the centerpiece of American sports culture,” it said in a statement at the time. “With minors comprising the majority of U.S. Figure Skating membership, athlete safety is paramount. U.S. Figure Skating believes the best practices for protecting minor athletes from abuse are enforcing athlete protection policies; education and awareness training; requiring background checks for people who have regular contact with athletes; and mandating that all members report alleged and suspected child abuse to local law enforcement, the U.S. Center for SafeSport and U.S. Figure Skating.”

In a later statement, USFS reiterated that the safety and well-being of athletes continued to be a “top priority.”

“We fully support all victims of sexual abuse and misconduct and encourage anyone who either has been abused or suspects abuse or misconduct to report it to local law enforcement, the U.S. Center for SafeSport or U.S. Figure Skating,” it said. “We condemn any and all acts of bullying and shaming of those who share their story. Bullying and victim-shaming are wrong and will not be tolerated.” ... ct-claims/

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U.S. Department of Justice has launched criminal investigations into sexual abuse across multiple U.S. Olympic organizat

Post by greybeard58 » Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:43 pm

The Wall Street Journal reported today that the U.S. Department of Justice has launched criminal investigations into sexual abuse across multiple U.S. Olympic organizations as well as “potential financial and business misconduct throughout the U.S. Olympic system.” Other news outlets later reported that their own sources confirmed this. This is on top of the ongoing inquiry into how the FBI handled its investigation of Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics national team doctor now serving more than 100 years in prison for sexually abusing young girls under the guise of medical treatment. Last year, the Journal reported that months passed between when USAG reported Nassar in 2015 to the FBI and when the FBI opened its formal investigation.

Per the Journal report, grand-jury subpoenas have been sent to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and to the U.S. Center for SafeSport. SafeSport is the organization intended to investigate and prevent abuse in Olympic sports, although its largely been set up to fail due to underfunding and conflicts of interest. The investigation involves DOJ’s money-laundering and child-exploitation units, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, and the Internal Revenue Service, the Journal reported.

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

The Journal added that investigators already have talked to “potential witnesses” from two national governing bodies that oversee Olympic sports: USA Gymnastics and USA Taekwondo. The move makes sense—the national conversation about sex abuse in the Olympic movement began with the Indianapolis Star’s reporting on how leadership within USAG spent years ignoring reports of abuse done by coaches, which allowed those abusive coaches to stay in the sport and victimize more athletes. USA Taekwondo is being sued by multiple women in federal court for what they describe as “ignoring, denying, obstructing, or covering up complaints of sexual abuse.”

In response, USAG, USA Taekwondo, and the USOPC all issued the expected statements saying that their executives take athlete safety seriously. The same U.S. senators who proposed legislation that, at best, halfway reforms the Olympic movement issued a get-tough statement about enablers being “held responsible.”

Right now, it’s hard to know what all these investigations will mean; they could take years, and guessing how any inquiry ends is a bad idea. But they arrive amid the growing global anti-Olympic movement, and yet on the USOPC website the news on Friday remained all positivity and smiles—a fiction that by the day grows harder to maintain. ... 1838107638

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This group is supposed to handle Olympic sex abuse complaints. A report shows its limits.

Post by greybeard58 » Sat Sep 21, 2019 7:29 am

This group is supposed to handle Olympic sex abuse complaints. A report shows its limits.

Rick Maese
September 19, 2019 at 2:04 p.m. CDT
One of the world’s most dominant water skiers was the subject of a scathing report this year from the government-backed organization charged with investigating sexual abuse claims in Olympic sports. U.S. Center for SafeSport investigators found he had sex with an underage girl, physically and emotionally abused a girlfriend and had inappropriate communications with at least one other young girl.

An investigator found the athlete “engaged in regular messaging with a minor female athlete, in the nighttime, of matters not involving sport, and likely in a grooming fashion with the intent to engage in subsequent sexual contact,” and the report included screenshots of text messages to another minor saying “I love you” and a photo of his bed with the caption “sex bed.”
The result: Nate Smith, a world record holder and one of the sport’s biggest stars, received a three-month suspension earlier this spring and has returned to competition, a punishment that has prompted angry backlash from some corners of the tight-knit world of water skiing and shows the limits of SafeSport’s reach.
Keep Reading

A SafeSport spokesman said the organization cannot comment on specific cases. But the confidential investigative report, which was reviewed by The Washington Post, makes clear that some of Smith’s alleged offenses occurred before the organization instituted its code of conduct and its Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policies last year, which effectively prevented the organization from punishing Smith for the sexual misconduct allegations that predated SafeSport’s policies.
Howard Jacobs, a California attorney who represented Smith in the matter, said Smith would not address any specific allegations in the report, but Smith issued a statement Monday night denying any sexual misconduct but acknowledged playing some role in a 2013 altercation that left an ex-girlfriend with a black eye.
“I take full responsibility for my poor choices made 7 years ago involving my adult girlfriend at the time,” he said. “There are many explanations for what happened, but no justification for my bad judgment.”

“. . . As to the remainder of the allegations of conduct violating the law, they are just not true. They are, to be very clear, not true.”
Olympic organizations face multiple investigations by Justice Department, state attorneys general

The SafeSport report details allegations that date from 2012. The organization’s hands were effectively tied, an investigator wrote in the report, and SafeSport couldn’t enforce rules that weren’t on the books at the time. SafeSport could hold Smith accountable only for laws he broke or USA Water Ski policies he violated.
“Indeed, his conduct would clearly constitute sexual misconduct under the Code today,” the investigator wrote at one point in the report, “however the Code did not apply in 2013.”

Challenges for SafeSport

SafeSport was created in 2017 as a nonprofit, independent body charged with investigating child and sexual abuse among Olympic-related sports in the United States. USA Water Ski & Wake Sports is a national governing body, and though water skiing is not contested in the Olympics, it falls under the auspices of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and also SafeSport. The executive director of USA Water Ski said the organization cannot comment on specific investigations.

“We are aware of this particular investigation and have been actively working with the Center to gather more information,” Nate Boudreaux said in an email. “The safety of our members is our number one priority.”
The case highlights some of the inherent challenges SafeSport faces in policing child and sexual abuse. With a shortage of resources and a heavy caseload — the organization receives 239 new reports a month and has nearly 1,300 open cases — it investigates many allegations that predate its code of conduct and doles out punishments based on widely varying rules that different sports’ national governing bodies had in place before SafeSport was established and the criminal laws in place at the time.

John Manly, an attorney representing hundreds of former gymnasts who were abused former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, says that sliding scale fails to put the safety of athletes first.

“That’s not the way it should be,” Manly said. “They’re taking criminal law and saying, ‘Well, we can’t change the way it was.’ Yes, you can. Look, if it was okay to have sex with a kid 20 years ago pursuant to the rules, you’re not going to prosecute or suspend that person because of an old rule? That’s insane.”
Since its inception, SafeSport has had to grapple with how to handle cases involving allegations that predate its code of conduct. In several instances, the independent body has delivered stiff penalties. For example, last year the organization issued a lifetime ban to George Morris, a decorated equestrian trainer, over events involving a minor that were alleged to have occurred nearly 50 years ago. Morris has called the charges “unsubstantiated” and is appealing the decision.

Also last year, the swimming coach Sean Hutchison was barred from the sport for a sexual relationship he was alleged to have had with a teenaged pupil. Hutchison denied the allegations. And in August, famed figure skating coach Richard Callaghan was given a permanent ban over years-old allegations of sexual misconduct involving minors. Callaghan consistently has denied any wrongdoing.
Smith, 28, is allowed to compete at any event, as well as work as an event official or coach other athletes. In July, five days before Smith’s suspension ended, Team Germany Racing, a private water ski team, introduced Smith in an Instagram post as its new “Team Mentor” for young athletes. That post was edited last week and now says only that Smith is a team member, but André Schürle, the team director, said in an interview he has no qualms with Smith working with young athletes.

“This story is a rumor story, a fake story,” Schürle said. “For six or seven years, he’s the best in the world. You cannot beat him. Because he is the best in the world — and now the social media stuff would like to kill him. They cannot beat him on the lake, so they do this.”

In his interview with the SafeSport investigator, Smith denied many of the allegations or said he had no memory of them taking place. Smith acknowledged he had sex with a 17-year-old athlete when he was 23. Florida law prohibits a person 24 or older from having sex with a person 16 or 17, so the investigator ruled Smith did nothing illegal in that instance. SafeSport’s code would bar such a relationship from occurring today and though USA Water Ski did have an applicable rule in place at the time of the incident in 2013, Smith was not technically a member of its national team until later that year.

The investigator was repeatedly told Smith has a history of pursuing relationships with young girls. The report says one parent told an investigator that Smith sent inappropriate late-night text messages to teenaged athletes, such as “I’m thinking of you at bedtime.”

'Everyone stays quiet'
Water skiing is an insular sport and many people interviewed by The Post requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issues, the ages of the people involved and concerns about retribution from sponsors or event organizers for speaking out against one of the sport’s biggest names.
“Everyone kind of knows, but everyone’s so scared to come out and say something,” said one competitor. “Everyone stays quiet because they’re worried about losing sponsors or hurting their standing.”

One fellow competitor put her name to a statement that was first posted on, a popular online forum for the water ski community. Lauren Morgan, who also provided her statement to The Post, wrote that her “heart sank” when she learned that at the conclusion of SafeSport’s investigation that Smith faced only a short suspension and a two-year probation.

“What we have at our hands now in the sport of water skiing is a safety issue,” she wrote. “We have factual knowledge surrounding a few events of sexual misconduct within our sport. . . . The failure to recognize, hold accountable, and the failure to place accountability anywhere whether it be on an individual or a water ski company who supports these acts is incredibly disheartening.
“I am ashamed of being associated with an entity that values buoy count and distance over true character,” she continued. “I am sad that the sport I love will do just about anything to highlight the world records, medals, and victories but is silent when times aren’t in favor. I am sad that we are at a place where protecting our youth is less important than the next win or the next trophy.”
Smith’s own sponsors largely have stood behind him during the course of the investigation. His biggest corporate backer, the boat manufacturer Nautique, however, reversed course recently and told The Post last week that it no longer has a relationship with Smith.

While parents and athletes interviewed by The Post said concerns about Smith have been expressed quietly at competitions for several years, SafeSport was first made aware of the allegations when it received a complaint from a parent in August 2018, charging Smith with “a long pattern of inappropriate relationships with young girls, ages 14-17, and of sexual, emotional and physical abuse,” according to the investigative report.

Every six weeks for more than 36 years: When will sex abuse in Olympic sports end?

A formal investigation was launched in October, assigned to a retired special agent from the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service . Four months later, on March 1, SafeSport issued an “interim restriction” that barred Smith from working with minors without another adult present and then temporarily suspended Smith from competition on April 30.

In May, at the conclusion of a seven-month probe that included interviews with 22 witnesses, SafeSport issued its three-month suspension for physical misconduct. The SafeSport investigator wrote in his report that “by a preponderance of the evidence,” that Smith “did engage in the alleged behavior,” which included sending late-night messages to an underage athlete; that he received a massage from a 17-year-old athlete; that he was alone with underage athletes in his RV; that he was controlling and threatening to an ex-girlfriend. That ex-girlfriend alleged Smith pushed her from a car, made threats and once smothered her with a pillow. She told the investigator that after she confronted him over text messages with underage athletes that she had discovered in his phone, they engaged in a physical altercation that left her with a black eye.
The report also includes screen shots of digital messages between Smith and underage girls. In one, for example, he’d mentioned a “threesome” to a 14-year-old girl, followed by “hahahahah jk.”

According to the report, Smith told the investigator he wasn’t sure how his ex-girlfriend suffered a black eye but said the two had a “scuffle.” He told the investigator he was hesitant to have a sexual relationship with the 17-year-old and said “it was a mistake I made,” according to the report. He said he texted “I love you” to the teenager as “a friendly gesture of acknowledgment of our friendships,” and the “sex bed” photo was intended for his girlfriend at the time, not the underage athlete who received it.

Back in competition
Smith did not object to the SafeSport suspension “because the short sanction that was imposed would have been fully served before the allegations could have been heard and decided by an independent arbitrator,” Jacobs said in an email. “Had the sanction been any longer, he would have contested those allegations and requested a hearing before a neutral arbitrator.”

Smith issued his statement after several days of posts on social media and Internet forums about the matter in the water ski community. He said “certain individuals began a personal attack . . . to justify their own misbehavior,” and he’d hoped “maintaining a low profile and not publicly responding to these negative statements . . . would stop their campaign.”
“I truly apologize for the negative impact that this entire affair has had on our sport. I have now stated the facts, and it is time to move on without further response to the onslaught of misstatements I am sure will follow,” he said.
Smith has resumed his competition schedule. He won a California Pro Am title earlier this month, and at last weekend's Malibu Open he finished in second place, posting the highest score in the event’s first three rounds.
“This getting brought up and his ‘punishment’ just shows him that he can get away with anything,” one person who met with the investigator told The Post in an interview. “It’s like some twilight zone. People see it; it’s been in front of everyone’s eyes for years. Now it’s been proven and SafeSport has this stuff on record. How can everyone turn away and allow it to keep happening?” ... story.html

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Ex-Eden Prairie coach sentenced to 24 years in prison for sexual abuse of teen skater.

Post by greybeard58 » Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:26 pm

Minneapolis-area figure skating coach gets decades in prison for girl's sex abuse
The teen said her former Team USA coach had been a father figure to her.
By Chao Xiong Star Tribune SEPTEMBER 27, 2019 — 9:58PM

Sarah Klein, the attorney of the victim, speaks to the media after the sentencing hearing of figure skating coach Thomas J. Incantalupo.

In front of a packed courtroom Friday morning, an 18-year-old sexual abuse survivor told a Hennepin County judge how her former ice skating coach groomed her, stalked her and repeatedly assaulted her when she was a child.

Interest in the case was so high that the judge, in a rare move, allowed the courtroom doors to remain open so that more than a dozen of the survivor’s supporters could listen to the proceeding.

“… Tom turned my dreams into a nightmare,” the survivor said before her abuser’s sentencing. “He robbed years of my childhood, and I’ll never get those years back.”

Thomas J. Incantalupo, 48, of St. Louis Park, was going to prison for his crimes, but the judge had to decide between a request by his attorneys for 12 years in prison and prosecutors’ request for 27 years.

Incantalupo cried and offered apologies to the court, the skating community and his victim and her family — in that order.

“They ring hollow,” Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill said of Incantalupo’s apologies, handing down a 24-year-prison sentence that prompted an audible group sigh of relief.

The survivor’s supporters, which included skating coaches, other students’ parents and one of Incantalupo’s former students, filled both sides of the courtroom.

In a front row sat Incantalupo’s wife, a male supporter and a female former student who told him, “Love you.”

The judge said Incantalupo’s remorse was from the “overwhelming” evidence against him. Cahill also noted a reference in an unspecified court document in which Incantalupo apparently characterized the abuse as an “affair.”

Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Erin Lutz noted earlier in Friday’s sentencing that Incantalupo had “stylized” the abuse as an “extramarital affair.”

“This is not cheating on your wife,” Cahill said. “This is a crime against a child.”

Incantalupo pleaded guilty in June to one count each of first- and third-degree criminal sexual conduct. He admitted taking the girl to a hotel twice and abusing her. She said in court Friday that he had abused her more frequently.

“He has earned every minute of a 27-year-sentence,” Lutz said.

Incantalupo, dressed in a dark-colored suit, came to court with two of the Twin Cities’ most experienced defense attorneys, Earl Gray and Paul Engh. Engh argued for 12 years, which is the minimum term Incantalupo agreed to in his guilty plea, but said “less would be appropriate.”

“In sex cases, the sentence has already occurred in many cases,” Engh said, adding that Incantalupo has lost his reputation because of media exposure. “He’s been abandoned in the community.”

Engh compared prosecutors’ and probation officers’ proposed sentences to terms given out in murder cases.

A tearful Incantalupo turned around from a podium and looked at the courtroom gallery, including the survivor and her parents, and apologized.

Cahill ordered him to return his gaze to the judge.

Incantalupo started coaching in 1990, was a master-rated freeskate coach and was a coach for Team USA in 2008 and 2010, according to a deleted page on the Eden Prairie Figure Skating Club website. His bio said he performed on multiple TV networks.

The former student supporting Incantalupo blew kisses to him as deputies led him out of the courtroom with his hands handcuffed behind his back.

The survivor told the court that she began training with Incantalupo when she was 9, that the abuse began in 2015 when she was 14 and that she had looked up to him as a father figure.

The fact that so many people in the sport “loved” Incantalupo made speaking up more difficult, she said.
Sarah Klein, the attorney of the victim, speaks to the media after the sentencing hearing of figure skating coach Thomas J. Incantalupo.
“Even before Tom sexually assaulted me, he started crossing my boundaries and invading my privacy,” she said. “He would take my phone and look through my messages. He was harassing me about social media. He would yell at me until I cried.”

Incantalupo emotionally and sexually abused her, she said, isolating her from her friends and family.

He stalked her, posing as a teenage boy on social media in order to spread hurtful rumors about her to her classmates.

She began cutting herself and planned ways to kill herself until she found out that Incantalupo was messaging her younger brother, who also took lessons from him.

“I couldn’t leave my little brother behind,” she said, “because he had never failed me.”

The family’s attorney, Sarah Klein, the first known sexual abuse survivor of former USA Gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar, held a news conference afterward calling for reform in the U.S. Figure Skating organization.

“Today our client and her family demonstrated tremendous courage,” Klein said. “Throughout the world of figure skating, children are still at risk.”

The organization needs to tell parents when coaches are banned for sexual misconduct, she said.

U.S. Figure Skating has a “long and shameful history” of putting money, medals and coaches’ reputations above children’s safety, Klein said, adding that the organization should be investigated to determine whether anyone knew about Incantalupo.

He is not being investigated for abusing others, Klein said, but she believes he has more victims.

U.S. Figure Skating declined to address Klein’s statements but issued a written statement saying Incantalupo’s actions were “heinous.”

“U.S. Figure Skating stands with and supports the skater who bravely came forward after years of abuse by Thomas Incantalupo,” the statement said. “By sharing the disturbing details of his grooming process and resulting sexual abuse, her voice and strength have put Incantalupo behind bars for his abhorrent crimes and provided other athletes and families the warning signs of grooming and abuse.”

The organization asked anyone who has been abused or suspects abuse to report it to the U.S. Center for Safe Sport, police or U.S. Figure Skating.

Klein said her client plans to take civil action against U.S. Figure Skating.

Ex-Eden Prairie coach sentenced to 24 years in prison for sexual abuse of teen skater.

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Ohio State Doctor Committed Nearly 1,500 Sexual Assaults, New Report Finds

Post by greybeard58 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 9:13 am

Ohio State Doctor Committed Nearly 1,500 Sexual Assaults, New Report Finds
The university stated in its annual crime report that Dr. Richard Strauss committed at least 1,429 sexual assaults and 47 rapes during his 20-year tenure.
By Alanna Vagianos

Former Ohio State University athletic trainer Dr. Richard Strauss committed nearly 1,500 sexual assaults on student-patients over two decades, according to a new report published by the university.

OSU stated in its annual crime report published this week that Strauss committed at least 1,429 sexual assaults and 47 rapes while he worked at the university between the late 1970s through the 1990s. The crime report looked at the total number of incidents that occurred, rather than total number of victims.

“This new information further shows OSU has known but continues to conceal evidence of Dr. Strauss’s serial sexual abuse. They were guilty of covering it up then and they are guilty of covering it up today,” Scott Smith, an attorney for dozens of Strauss’ victims, said in a statement.

An earlier independent investigation found that Strauss had sexually abused at least 177 students.

“The university remains dedicated to integrity, transparency and trust — values that guide our campus community each day,” OSU president Michael V. Drake said in a Tuesday statement. “This commitment extends fully to the investigation of abuse committed by Strauss.”

Strauss served as Ohio State’s clinical and medical faculty member from 1978 to 1998. During that time he also served as the athletics team physician from 1981-1995, having access to more than 16 sports teams.

Strauss died by suicide in 2005, but the investigation into his alleged actions is ongoing.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) was accused last year of turning a blind eye to Strauss’ abuse when he was an assistant wrestling coach at OSU between 1986 and 1994.

“I considered Jim Jordan a friend. But at the end of the day, he is absolutely lying if he says he doesn’t know what was going on,” former Ohio State wrestler Mike DiSabato told NBC News in an investigative report published last year.

Jordan claimed vindication after an investigation was published in May, pointing to a section that concluded the report “did not identify any contemporaneous documentary evidence that members of the OSU coaching staff, including head coaches or assistant coaches, received or were aware of complaints regarding Strauss sexual misconduct.”

The investigation, however, found that 22 former OSU coaches reported that they were aware of complaints and rumors against Strauss from the 1970s through the 1990s. ... 9647b27ec6

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Attorney seeks release of list of Boy Scout leaders accused of misconduct

Post by greybeard58 » Thu Oct 17, 2019 10:50 am

From Star Tribune: Attorney seeks release of list of Boy Scout leaders accused of misconduct

Attorney seeks release of list of Boy Scout leaders accused of misconduct.

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Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 11:40 pm

Lawsuit targets coach, USA Swimming in sex assault of 12-year-old girl; trial set this week

Post by greybeard58 » Mon Nov 04, 2019 12:12 pm

Lawsuit targets coach, USA Swimming in sex assault of 12-year-old girl; trial set this week


A girl testified last week that the ongoing sexual assaults her swim coach began inflicting on her when she was just 12 robbed her of her dreams of becoming an elite swimmer and left her with memories so horrifying she can’t imagine ever jumping in a pool and competing again.

“I feel like I am in a hole with no way out, no stairs, no light, nothing,” the girl told a judge.

A short time later, the Stockton, Calif., judge sentenced the former coach, Shunichi Fujishima, to 12 years in prison. Fujishima, 23, had pleaded guilty to sexually terrorizing the girl over seven months last year and targeting a 13-year-old girl he coached with unlawful sexual communications for four months.

This week, a lawsuit filed on behalf of the sexual assault victim is scheduled to go to trial in California. The lawsuit accuses Colorado Springs-based USA Swimming of negligence that allowed the Stockton Swim Club to become a sexual hunting ground for the team’s head coach — a man parents once affectionately called Coach Shun.

The girl’s lawyers, led by San Jose-based B. Robert Allard, plan a blistering attack on USA Swimming’s promises under new leadership that it had addressed a history of scandal involving sexual abuse of young swimmers by coaches.

“USA Swimming does not seem to understand that almost 95 percent of its members are children,” Allard said. “As such, they are one of the largest child care organizations in the country and have a critically important obligation to keep kids safe, especially from predators.”

USA Swimming contends others are to blame for the sexual abuse of the young swimmer in Stockton. The governing body also claims sexual safety training was made available to the Stockton Swim Club before the incident, absolving USA Swimming of responsibility if that training wasn’t done.

The Stockton Swim Club and a regional swimming association, Pacific Swimming, earlier reached confidential settlements and are no longer named defendants in the current lawsuit. The girl’s parents were negligent and careless themselves, USA Swimming claims in court filings. Fujishima remains a named defendant in the litigation.

The characteristics of the Stockton case are all too familiar to Allard, who has sued USA Swimming for other sexual assaults by swim coaches. Once again, a predator coach exploited an imbalance of power over a young girl eager to please and vulnerable to manipulation because of her hopes for swimming stardom, he said. USA Swimming failed to act after receiving warning signs, the lawsuit alleges.

USA Swimming did not aggressively investigate the Stockton Swim Club despite receiving a sexual misconduct complaint from another parent in 2017 about another coach with the club — Marco Villanueva — according to evidence in the case reviewed by The Gazette.

That complaint sent to USA Swimming included a copy of Snapchat messages Villanueva, then 19, wrote in 2014 and 2015 to a girl, then 13. In one message, he wrote, “Now I basically have your” body, which he referred to in an explicit and vulgar manner. In another message, Villanueva wrote to the girl that he had a friend “who wants to get laid also.”

“Lol. Eh. I need a cuddle partner!!” Villanueva admitted writing to the girl in one Snapchat message.

Despite reviewing the Snapchat messages and finding that Villanueva transported the girl to social engagements without the permission of the girl’s mother, USA Swimming issued only a written warning that allowed Villanueva to continue coaching young swimmers.

The lack of a stringent response from USA Swimming became a green light for the other Stockton Swim Club coach — Fujishima — to target and prey sexually on the other young girl who believed he would propel her to new heights of athletic glory, claims the lawsuit filed on behalf of Fujishima’s sexual assault victim.

“There was a complete absence of any child protection measures which were implemented at the Stockton Swim Club, thereby making it a very attractive haven for predator coaches,” Allard said.

While USA Swimming was debating how to handle the complaint against Villanueva, Fujishima began pressuring the other girl for sex, the evidence in his criminal case shows.

Fujishima texted the first nude photo of himself to the girl the same month that USA Swimming received the complaint about Villanueva, court records show. By May 2018, Fujishima was regularly driving the girl from swim practice to his condo to have sex with her, according to the criminal complaint. He went on to film her performing sex acts, according to the documents.

Allard’s client now recoils from physical contact with others, according to her testimony in the criminal case. She hates her own body. She doubts herself and wonders if her coach targeted her because she looks easy to manipulate. Late at night, when she drifts toward sleep, she forces herself to wake up because the thought of becoming so vulnerable and out of control scares her.

“Now I feel sad, empty, lonely and full of shame,” the girl, now 14, testified during the sentencing hearing of her former coach, according to a copy of her prepared remarks reviewed by The Gazette. “I get frustrated with what was ripped from me as a child. My words and emotions have been taken away, and I question what I knew and thought to be true.”

She claimed in a successful restraining order she took out against Fujishima in January that he began manipulating her when she was just 11 years old and initiated sex with her when she was 12. The sexual assaults lasted for seven months, she said in her application for the restraining order.

Isabelle McLemore, a spokeswoman for USA Swimming, declined to discuss USA Swimming’s handling of the Villanueva case because of the pending lawsuit and upcoming civil trial. Top officials at the organization did not respond to email and telephone messages seeking comment.

“Athlete health and safety is our number one concern,” McLemore said. “We continue to look at ways to improve our SafeSport program. This is a top priority for this organization, and we will continue to do better.”

The girl’s lawyers plan to argue that USA Swimming is still not requiring young swimmers to take training on how to spot sexually predatory coaches and how to protect themselves from becoming targets for abuse. While such training has been required for years by the Boy Scouts of America, USA Swimming relies on a voluntary program that makes material available for parents and their young swimmers who want to review it.

The voluntary approach was woefully deficient, according to a 2014 report prepared by an expert in child abuse prevention USA Swimming hired to review its child safety programs. That report, released in the wake of a series of sexual assault scandals involving USA Swimming, found that virtually no parents or their young children review the USA Swimming material on sex abuse prevention.

Only 0.5% of USA Swimming members ages 12 to 18 take the sexual safety training USA Swimming makes available, and only 1.4% of parents take that training, according to the report from Victor Vieth, founder of the Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center, one of the top child abuse protection groups in the nation.

USA Swimming opted not to institute a mandatory training program in part out of fear that doing so would scare off participants in swimming programs or create negative connotations, according to testimony taken in preparation for the trial on the lawsuit.

USA Swimming in July began mandating that its adult members take abuse safety training, but the organization still doesn’t require such training for members who are children or their parents. The organization makes safety training information available online for parents and children who want to review it on a voluntary basis.

Saying the pending litigation constrained her from speaking, USA Swimming’s spokeswoman declined to say whether the rate of children swimmers and parents taking the safety training has improved since the 2014 report.

Allard said only requiring safety training for adults actually can make matters worse. The limited approach can create situations where predator coaches receive training they can exploit to avoid detection, he said. Meanwhile, children, who make up the vast majority of USA Swimming membership, and their families remain in the dark on how to protect against sexual abuse, Allard added.

“I don’t care how many gold medals USA Swimming wins or how much revenue it generates through TV contracts or endorsement deals,” Allard said. “So long as children continue to be left vulnerable at the grass roots level, this organization is utterly betraying the vast majority of its members.”

While taking a recent deposition of a top official at USA Swimming, Allard noted that as of July, 139 of the 178 individuals on USA Swimming’s banned list had been banned for engaging in some form of sexual misconduct.

In a deposition taken last week, Tim Hinchey, who became president and CEO of USA Swimming in 2017, argued that USA Swimming makes sexual safety training available to clubs like the Stockton Swim Club for free. “Ultimately, I’m not — I’m not there every day to ensure that something gets done in the right manner,” he testified, “I mean, we have over 3,000 clubs, over 19,000 coaches, over 400,000 members.”

Documents reviewed by The Gazette show that Hinchey was copied on the written warning Susan Woessner, then USA Swimming’s director of SafeSport, sent to Villanueva in August 2017. Also copied on that written warning were Lucinda McRoberts, USA Swimming’s general counsel, and Bryan Davis, who at that time was the head coach at the Stockton Swim Club. Parents of children on the Stockton Swim Club weren’t copied on the warning letter.

Hinchey, in his deposition, last week testified that he had just started his job as USA Swimming’s CEO and was in New York at the time Woessner sent an email copying him on the written warning.

“I get hundreds and hundreds a day,” he said of his email volume, explaining why he can’t recall being copied on the warning. “I try to do the best I can to get to as many as I can.”

USA Swimming’s 2017 code of conduct vested final authority in how to handle sexual misconduct complaints with the CEO, which Hinchey had been for 23 days at the time of the email to him.

“Being brand new to the organization — I was only in the office nine physical days,” Hinchey testified last week when he was deposed. “I was trying to learn as much as I could at the time and trying to process as much as I could at the time. So I can’t reflect whether I was completely concerned or I was still just trying to drink from the firehose.”

Woessner confirmed in her deposition that USA Swimming’s code of conduct gave Hinchey ultimate authority on how to handle the Villanueva complaint.

“He was the direct supervisor of the SafeSport program,” she testified, referring to Hinchey. She added: “The rule book indicates that he conduct the initial inquiry, and since that was designated to the SafeSport staff, he was copied on it.”

- Booked and busy, honey, that's right.
She continued that Hinchey was “aware of the initial inquiry and the outcome,” adding that if Hinchey “disagreed with the course of action, he could let us know that and/or indicate that he, instead of the warning letter, wanted an investigation to go forward.”

She added during her testimony that how to handle the Villanueva complaint was discussed over roughly nine weeks during six to eight USA Swimming SafeSport meetings, which were headed by USA Swimming’s general counsel McRoberts. Hinchey wasn’t involved in those meetings, Woessner said.

Hinchey did not respond to an email and telephone messages seeking comment.

Woessner said during her deposition that USA Swimming decided not to require its young swim members to be trained in sexual abuse prevention despite expert advice that participation rates in the voluntary program were low.

The expert, Vieth, warned USA Swimming in his report that parents and young swimmers often subscribe to myths about sexual predators, such as that they are likely to be homeless or strangers when they often are people the victims know.

In reality, predator coaches are skilled at fooling parents and children with cunning and guile that must be combated with training and information, Vieth warned USA Swimming in his 2014 report.

Woessner testified that USA Swimming decided encouraging parents and swimmers to participate in sex misconduct prevention training was a better way to go as opposed to requiring them to take it. Part of the reasoning was that mandating the training could backfire and leave young swimmers with a negative impression, she testified last week. Young swimmers might be left with bad connotations if they were barred from a swim competition due to failing to watch a video on preventing sex abuse, she said.

“We’re looking for long-term culture change, not just check-the-box requirements,” she testified during the deposition.

Woessner was forced out in February 2018 from USA Swimming following allegations she had a conflict of interest in a sexual abuse investigation of U.S. national team coach Sean Hutchison because she allegedly had an “intimately personal relationship” with that coach. She has admitted in a previous deposition to once engaging in a make-out session with Hutchison but denied any ongoing relationship.

Villanueva did not return telephone messages from The Gazette seeking comment. In a past media report, he admitted that he confessed to USA Swimming to sending inappropriate text messages to underage swimmers he coached. He denied in that report having sex with any girls he coached and told The Orange County Register he no longer was coaching.

The litigation comes at a sensitive time for USA Swimming. The Wall Street Journal reported this month that federal prosecutors are investigating USA Swimming, including allegations that the organization stifled sexual abuse claims from swimmers, concealed assets and had a conflict of interest in a former in-house insurance program.

In addition, an internal USA Swimming email sent in April from McRoberts, the organization’s general counsel, revealed to USA Swimming staff that the California attorney general was investigating. The Gazette obtained a copy of the email. In it, McRoberts tells USA Swimming staff that the investigation in California meant USA Swimming needed to gather and produce for outside counsel documents and case files on 15 swim coaches accused of misconduct — including Villanueva and Fujishima. Fujishima was not banned as coach by the U.S. Center for SafeSport until after his arrest in January. McRoberts did not respond to an email seeking comment.

“If anybody has reached out to us regarding any government investigation, we will absolutely do the best to work with them, especially when it comes to health and safety,” said McLemore, the spokeswoman for USA Swimming.

Hinchey, who was hired by USA Swimming after its CEO Chuck Wieglus died in 2017, told a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee in May 2018: “While we cannot change the past, we will learn from it, and we will do better. Our commitment to preventing child sexual abuse and providing a safe and healthy environment for our athletes is long-lasting.”

When deposed last week, Hinchey noted that USA Swimming no longer investigates sexual assault allegations. The U.S. Olympic Committee in 2017 gave the power to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct and other potential offenses at Olympic-affiliated national, state or local clubs to the U.S. Center for SafeSport, a nonprofit based in Denver.

When pressed during the deposition by Allard on how much time Hinchey typically spends on child protection issues as CEO of USA Swimming, Hinchey said he wasn’t sure but that in one recent week he had spent about 5% of his time on such issues.

“In the past several years, have you been made aware of any procedure or program implemented by USA Swimming to ensure that parents and children, such as those at the Stockton Swim Club, are trained on childhood sexual abuse issues?” Allard asked.

Hinchey testified: “I’m not familiar with any.”

“Are you aware of any monitoring compliance program within USA Swimming implemented in the last several years which ensures that members of clubs, such as Stockton Swim Club, are properly trained on SafeSport materials?” Allard continued.

“I’m not aware of any,” replied Hinchey.

Contact the reporter: 303-257-2601

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Mary Cain, Nike Oregon Project runners detail toxic culture under Alberto Salazar - Sports Illustrated

Post by greybeard58 » Thu Nov 28, 2019 11:05 am

Inside the Toxic Culture of the Nike Oregon Project 'Cult'
Accounts from nine former Nike Oregon Project members, extending back to 2008, validate Mary Cain's claims of the abusive, toxic culture under Alberto Salazar, where female athletes’ bodies were fair game to be demeaned publicly and authority figures appeared to lack certifications.
Abigail Nicolas

In a video op-ed published Thursday by the New York Times, former high school track phenom Mary Cain claimed she suffered mental and physical abuse under the supervision of disgraced star coach Alberto Salazar as a member of Nike’s Oregon Project, an elite professional training group based in Portland and owned and operated by Nike from 2001 until October of this year. Cain—who had charmed fans as a 17-year-old breakout star at the 2013 world championships—said that she broke five bones, missed her period for three years and had suicidal thoughts due to disordered eating she developed under Salazar’s extreme training methods.

Amid the fallout from Cain’s comments, Sports Illustrated contacted nine former Nike Oregon Project members, including Cain, about the culture under Salazar, and their accounts, extending back to 2008, validate her claims and paint a picture of a toxic culture where female athletes’ bodies were fair game to be demeaned publicly. Multiple authority figures appeared to lack certifications. Former team members now describe it, in retrospect, as “a cult.” Now leaders from the anti-doping world and even Salazar’s de facto successor as coach are calling for a third-party investigation of The Oregon Project.

In an email to the Times, Salazar denied most of Cain’s allegations and told The Oregonian that Cain’s parents were “deeply involved in her training” during her time with the team. Salazar said that he consulted with Cain’s father, who is a medical doctor, on medications and supplements that she used. He denied giving, encouraging or suggesting that any athlete take any banned substances. “To be clear, I never encouraged her, or worse yet, shamed her, to maintain an unhealthy weight,” Salazar wrote to The Oregonian. “Mary at times struggled to find and maintain her ideal performance and training weight," he added.

In a statement to SI Tuesday night, Salazar continued to dispute Cain’s account of her treatment by Oregon Project coaches and staff, while acknowledging that he may have made inappropriate comments. He wrote in part, “My foremost goal as a coach was to promote athletic performance in a manner that supported the good health and well-being of all my athletes. On occasion, I may have made comments that were callous or insensitive over the course of years of helping my athletes through hard training. If any athlete was hurt by any comments that I have made, such an effect was entirely unintended, and I am sorry. I do dispute, however, the notion that any athlete suffered any abuse or gender discrimination while running for the Oregon Project.” (Salazar’s full statement is available at the end of this story.)

Cain during the 2013 USA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
Cain during the 2013 USA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.

Bill Frakes

Salazar said in his statement that he encouraged his athletes to achieve “their target training weight and performance weight [for] peak performance while maintaining an overall good well-being.” But when Cain lost her period because of her disordered eating and sought medical assistance for it, Salazar brought her to a doctor who did not treat the underlying issue. During April 2015, Cain says, Salazar received her father’s permission to bring her to a physician for a check-up. Salazar, who was in the room with Cain during her appointment, told the doctor, a woman, that Cain had not gotten her period for a year and said it was possibly linked to her weight issues.

Cain says she did not undergo any full physical examination but was given physician-sample birth-control pills that Salazar told her would cause her to lose water weight and get her period back. When she told her parents that she had been given the medication, they told her not to take any. Salazar wrote instructions on the boxes, which Cain has retained to this day but never opened.

Dr. Charles Cain confirmed to his daughter's account of the appointment. During the 2015 indoor track and field season, Cain complained to Salazar about the way the coach discussed his daughter’s weight with her.

“She would call home and she would be upset,” Cain says. “I would tell Alberto, ‘You can’t talk to kids about this stuff. It’s a problem.’ I asked them repeatedly and clearly to stop talking about her weight.”

Salazar writes that he “did not know and was never told by Mary, her parents or any athletes that the discussion of weight was abusive.”

“Because runner weight is inherently tied to performance for elite runners, I saw it as part of my job as an endurance sport coach to help the team’s runners understand the impact weight has on performance,” Salazar wrote to SI. “I had a lot of frank discussions about weight with all of my athletes—both women and men.”

In Salazar’s statement to The Oregonian, he said the Oregon Project’s support staff included a nutritionist and a sports psychologist. But there appears to have been no licensed nutritionist or psychologist on staff. Nike said in a statement, “We are not aware of the specific staff that you say Alberto referenced.” In his statement to SI, Salazar named three experts who he said were available to his athletes as resources. Cain does not recall working with any of those specialists.

In May 2015, Cain spiraled into depression and self-harm. This is when, she recounted to the Times, she struggled in a 1,500-meter race at Occidental College and Salazar weight-shamed her in front of other track-meet participants after the race. That same night, the 19-year-old informed Salazar and Darren Treasure that she was cutting herself. She says they ignored this cry for help.

For years, Treasure, an internationally renowned sports performance coach, was referenced in media reports and among Oregon Project team members as the team’s sports psychologist. Salazar referenced him as his “right-hand man” in 2009. In a 2013 Sports Illustrated profile of Cain, Treasure was also cited as the team’s resident sports psychologist who sat in on her interview. On the now-defunct Oregon Project website, his page was once titled “Darren Treasure, PhD—Sports Psychologist | Oregon Project.”

Treasure, though, is not a licensed psychologist. Most of the former Oregon Project athletes contacted by SI discovered Treasure was not licensed as a psychologist only after leaving the team. Pete Julian, an assistant coach, tells SI that he did not know Treasure was not licensed “until recently.”

A Nike spokesperson says Treasure served as the Oregon Project’s high performance director and was hired as a consultant by Salazar for his background working with elite athletes. Nike says it has no knowledge of any previous concerns raised by Oregon Project athletes regarding Treasure, who remains Nike’s Mental Performance Coach.

In a statement, Treasure said: “‘Psychologist’ is a term associated with a state-licensed practitioner. I have never been or practiced as a licensed psychologist. There is no such thing as a ‘licensed sport psychologist.’ My background and training is in sport psychology. … I have always referred athletes to the appropriate professional when issues of a counseling or clinical nature arose that were beyond my training. This was always the case with athletes who ran for the Oregon Project.”

But Cain says Treasure didn’t refer her to the appropriate outside help. “When I told Darren about me cutting myself, he should have directed me to a medical professional. I thought he was one. If he knew he wasn’t one and knew he couldn’t handle it both professionally and personally, then he should have redirected me to somebody who could have helped me. He let me struggle through that alone.”

Alberto Salazar looks on during the 2013 USA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
Alberto Salazar looks on during the 2013 USA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.

Bill Frakes

That was not the only complaint former Oregon Project athletes had about Treasure. Some who spoke with SI said Salazar wanted every team member to work closely with Treasure—in some cases, Treasure would be the last person the athletes would speak to before stepping on the track—and, in turn, Treasure would share private conversations he had with athletes with Salazar.

“Everything I told Darren in confidence, Alberto would talk to me about later,” Olympic distance runner Kara Goucher, who left the Oregon Project in 2011 before blowing the whistle on possible anti-doping offenses there, says. “Darren would tell me things that my teammates were saying to me in confidence. I was privy to other people’s personal thoughts and secrets that they would tell Darren, and I would be told about them. Openly, he and Alberto would laugh about stuff going on with other people. It makes me really ashamed, actually. Nothing was secret.”

For her nutritional needs, Cain says she worked with Colleen Glyde Julian, the wife of Pete Julian. Glyde Julian has a PhD in health and behavioral sciences from the Health and Sciences Center at the University of Colorado-Denver, worked in the University of Colorado Denver’s Department of Medicine and has a background in elite running. She is not, though, a certified nutritionist. (Nike’s understanding, relayed to SI, is that she was a consultant on the Oregon Project.)

On Dec. 18, 2013, according to correspondence reviewed by SI, Glyde Julian contacted Cain and her father saying Oregon Project staff members would like her to do a nutritional assessment, as had been done with other Oregon Project athletes. Cain’s father approved and was copied on emails between Cain and Glyde Julian that included diet and nutritional advice.

Glyde Julian never presented herself to the Cains as a nutritionist. But Charles Cain says he was under the impression Glyde Julian was properly certified to perform a nutritional assessment and provide Mary nutritional advice. “I didn’t do a background check on these people. … They were all working under this umbrella of Nike and you believed that because of that, they were going to be what they were presented as.” (In an email to SI, Glyde Julian wrote that “decisions regarding her referral to a certified professional nutritionist or psychologist should be made by her physician. Please recall that I was asked to simply provide very basic recommendations for healthful food choices by email and that is what I did.”)

After the release of Cain’s video op-ed, former Oregon Project athletes provided their own accounts of Salazar’s weight-loss obsession. Canadian marathoner Cam Levins, who trained under Salazar from 2013–17, confirmed on Instagram that Oregon Project coaches were “obsessed” with Cain's weight loss, and he apologized for not speaking out. In a statement to SI, Levins added that he ‘absolutely’ believes Cain and can “corroborate that she was told to lose weight and that by doing so she would be more successful.”

Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein, who ran for Salazar from 2009–14, shared a condominium with Cain when she trained in Park City, Utah, as a high schooler. Cain recalls stealing Ritzenhein’s Clif Bars to sneak away to her room because she was afraid to eat them in front of Salazar. While Ritzenhein left the team before Cain’s struggles and distress escalated, he apologized to her for the abuse she experienced under Salazar.

Ritzenhein says, “She was so happy and full of joy. She was so young… As a father of a daughter who is not much younger than Mary was then, and as a coach of women, it makes me sick to see what happened to her.”

Salazar’s unhealthy culture was allegedly in place before Cain joined the team. Amy Yoder Begley competed for the United States in the 10,000 meters at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and trained under Salazar until 2011. When she announced her decision to leave the team, she initially blamed injuries and differing views with Salazar on how to rehabilitate from them. Following the publication of Cain’s story, Yoder Begley said that she was kicked out of the Oregon Project.

“I was told I was too fat and ‘had the biggest butt on the starting line’,” Yoder Begley tweeted on Thursday. “This brings those painful memories back. I have not commented publicly about USADAs [anti-doping] investigation into Alberto Salazar because I did not personally witness or take part in any of the violations he is accused of. But I have first hand experience with what [Mary Cain] described in the [New York Times].”

Bill Frakes

Goucher recalls Yoder Begley being weighed in front of her when they were preparing for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Park City. Goucher remembers Salazar telling Begley, “You have no shot. You’re too fat.” Her husband, Adam, was also present and witnessed the repeated criticism.

“They were hung up on her butt,” Kara Goucher says. “He was obsessed with the fact that it hung out of her shorts. She was tiny and it was a constant thing with her. They were so mean to Amy that it was crazy.”

Ritzenhein also recalls similar conversations between coaches about Yoder Begley. “They were joking about how much weight she had gained,” he says. “Amy was very successful, but she was still vulnerable to ridicule and criticism like that. It was sad to see.”

Steve Magness, an assistant coach under Salazar from 2011 to 2012, confirmed Yoder Begley’s account. This week, he reviewed records and found that her body fat percentage was 11.1 using a hydrostatic method or 12.4 using skin calipers, which he estimates is around the lowest a woman can go without impacting her health.

“I remember Salazar saying something like, ‘Her a-- was hanging out of her uniform’,” Magness says. “In that moment, he added, ‘I’m done with you. I’m tired of fighting this weight issue. We’re done.’ Amy countered by saying she hadn’t gained any weight. Alberto said he didn’t care what her weight said. ‘I know you’ve gotten bigger.’ There was this conversation on if her jean sizes had gone up because her butt was bigger. It was the [most] bizarre thing ever.”

(In a statement, Yoder Begley thanked her former teammates and said: “Since 2011, I’ve tried hard not to relive my experiences at the Oregon Project. I support Mary and hope to make a positive impact on the sport now as a coach.”)

In a phone interview, Magness also recalled hearing similar comments when Goucher was returning from pregnancy. Magness says Salazar would comment on the size of her breasts in front of other people and at practice in 2011. Goucher and her husband, Adam, confirmed these comments. Adam Goucher tweeted that Salazar—following the 2011 Boston Marathon where Goucher ran 2:24 just six months removed from giving birth—approached her family and said, “Don’t tell Kara, but she is still too heavy. She needs to lose her baby weight if she wants to be fast again.”

In September, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency banned Salazar from track and field for four years after finding that, among other things, the famed coach had “trafficked” in testosterone. (Salazar has since filed an appeal against the ban with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.) The next month, Nike shuttered the Oregon Project, citing it as a distraction to some of its current members who were set to race at the Chicago Marathon. Salazar’s former assistant, Pete Julian, will continue to coach some former Oregon Project athletes, though it is not yet clear under which banner. Julian, assistant with the team during Cain’s tenure, wrote on Instagram on Oct. 23: “I don't regret one minute of my time with the NOP the past seven years.”

But after reading Cain’s story Thursday, Julian told SI that, upon reflection, if he could go back in time, he’d look to do something different or be more supportive. Though Cain worked more closely with Salazar and Treasure, Julian was present at practices, training camps and competitions. Julian says there were times where he was “put in a position” to relay information from Salazar on everything from running mechanics to losing or gaining weight.

Cain tells SI that Julian was present for many of the shaming comments from Salazar and does not believe Julian is fit to coach in the future.

“I think you have to be a leader to be a coach,” Cain says. “I think you have to be somebody who is willing to stand up even when it’s hard. Sometimes that means taking a fall and saying, ‘Hey, I did something wrong so let’s readjust.’ Sometimes that means standing up to people who are in positions higher than you and saying, ‘This isn’t OK.’ If you don’t have the backbone to do that … if you don’t have the ability to step in when your athlete is struggling or suffering, then you’re not. How can you be a leader?”

Julian says he agrees with Cain’s assessment about standing up to those in power. He says he would alter messages from Salazar to athletes to be softer and more compassionate and “sometimes in a way that I felt that it was more right” despite it sometimes being in direct conflict with Salazar’s view.

“I think Mary raises some good points, but I don’t think she understands how much I was actually doing for her, when I was actually trying to protect her when these messages were given to me and for me to stand up for her behind the scenes,” Julian says.

Julian adds, “I need to make it clear that I’m really sorry that Mary had to go through this. I didn’t know that she had this much pain.”

The sportswear giant is making some leadership changes, though when the moves were announced last month, the company denied they were tied to the scandal involving Salazar and the Oregon Project. Mark Parker will step down as Nike’s CEO in January after 13 years in charge, and Nike board member and ServiceNow, Inc. CEO John Donahoe will succeed him as the executive chairman.

The changes also come after multiple lawsuits were filed over allegations of gender discrimination in spring 2018; some top executives left the company amid the workplace issues. This spring, former Nike track athletes—including Goucher and Olympian Allyson Felix—also came forward to the Times about Nike’s treatment of pregnant athletes and contract reductions. Nike announced it would no longer apply those reductions to athletes on maternity leave.

As of Wednesday morning, the Gouchers and Magness say they have not been contacted by Nike in regards to the recent allegations made by Cain. Yoder Begley, Levins and Ritzenhein were contacted by Nike on Friday and told an investigation would soon be underway and they would hear from them the following week. On Saturday afternoon and Tuesday afternoon, an attorney in Nike’s legal department left Cain voicemails, looking to speak with her about the matter and the upcoming investigation.

“What happened to [Cain] is not OK,” Ritzenhein says, “The snake’s head has already been chopped off. But there’s a lot of people who need to take a look at themselves and see what created that piece to begin with.”

Bill Frakes

Cain is calling on Nike to open itself to an outside investigation, whereby Nike would commit to turning over all the emails between Nike employees, members of the Nike Oregon Project members and outside doctors or consultants. Nike would also make statements of assurance to all Nike athletes that they expect them to cooperate, be truthful and the company will not retaliate in any way.

“I believe Nike should investigate,” Cain says. “But I also believe it should not be Nike investigating themselves. … I would propose it be an organization such as USADA, the USOPC or SafeSport. We need a third party that is unbiased and will actually do the due diligence to determine what needs to change to actually support athletes going forward.”

When asked whether Nike would allow an outside party to examine the Oregon Project, a company spokesperson repeated a statement similar to the one given to the Times while adding that an investigation is already underway.

Without question, Nike’s roots run deep in track and field, and many of the natural candidates to investigate Nike have a business relationship with the apparel giant. Nike signed a 23-year sponsorship extension with USA Track and Field in 2014. In March, Nike agreed to a long term sponsorship through the 2028 Olympics with the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

USADA CEO Travis Tygart tells SI that there is a “mountain of evidence” regarding the toxic culture at the Oregon Project and Nike is in possession of much of it from the anti-doping investigation into Salazar. Tygart believes everyone who was in a position to influence athletes’ choices in health and well being need to be examined by an independent organization.

“Any investigation that [Nike] does at this stage will be a charade to protect the brand,” Tygart says.

All of the former athletes and coaches contacted by SI said they would be willing to cooperate with an outside investigation into the Oregon Project. Pete Julian and Darren Treasure also welcomed Cain’s suggestion.

“I think that Mary’s suggestion is actually making sure that somebody outside of sport is also a wonderful suggestion and I 100% support that,” Julian says. “I am willing to cooperate as much as possible. I want what’s best for these athletes. … I would rather have an independent body verify this rather than just Nike. I want people to believe it. I want people to understand it and trust it.”

In statements, Nike and Salazar have both noted that Cain had expressed interest in rejoining the Oregon Project as recently as this spring. After the publication of her video, Nike said: “These are deeply troubling allegations which have not been raised by Mary or her parents before. Mary was seeking to rejoin the Oregon Project and Alberto’s team as recently as April of this year, and had not raised these concerns as part of that process. We take the allegations extremely seriously and will launch an immediate investigation to hear from former Oregon Project athletes. At Nike we seek to always put the athlete at the center of everything we do, and these allegations are completely inconsistent with our values.”

“What I found so horrifying from Nike’s response is the fact that they’re trying to invalidate my story because six months ago I couldn’t accept what was going on,” Cain says. “Different people have different things that trigger them to realize their situation was not OK. In events like the #MeToo Movement, there are many cases where it took decades for someone to talk about their situation. That doesn’t mean their stories aren’t valid.”

"My foremost goal as a coach was to promote athletic performance in a manner that supported the good health and well-being of all my athletes. On occasion, I may have made comments that were callous or insensitive over the course of years of helping my athletes through hard training. If any athlete was hurt by any comments that I have made, such an effect was entirely unintended, and I am sorry. I do dispute, however, the notion that any athlete suffered any abuse or gender discrimination while running for the Oregon Project.

Because runner weight is inherently tied to performance for elite runners, I saw it as part of my job as an endurance sport coach to help the team’s runners understand the impact weight has on performance. I had a lot of frank discussions about weight with all of my athletes—both women and men. That’s part of elite sport. Maybe that needs to change. Indeed, I have always treated men and women similarly in this regard—to treat my female athletes differently I believe would not be in their personal interests or in the interests of promoting their best athletic performance. I did not know and was never told by Mary, her parents, or any athlete—male or female—that the discussion of weight was abusive.

At no point did I have a policy or practice of requiring female athletes to lose weight. Instead, I have discussed with all of my athletes, both women and men, what their target training weight and performance weight should be to attain peak performance while maintaining an overall good well-being. For some athletes, both women and men, their target training weight and performance weight were either below or above the weight at which they entered the program.

Moreover, these discussions about training weight and performance weight frequently included significant persons in the athletes’ lives For example, Mary Cain’s father who is a trained physician, Dr. Charles Cain, was copied on emails to her regarding her training and nutrition.

Furthermore, I have always ensured that my athletes, both women and men, have available to them resources, such as dietitians, nutritionists and others, to help them achieve or maintain any training weight or performance weight in a healthy and appropriate manner. This included, among others and at various times, Dr. Krista Austin (an exercise physiologist and nutritionist with a PhD in exercise physiology & sports nutrition), Dr. Renée Pirkl (a licensed psychologist), and Ruth Carey (a registered dietitian and board certified specialist in sports dietetics).

These discussions and exchanges were always meant to help these athletes reach their goals of being the best in the world which is a difficult and often unattainable goal. It was my job to help them get there and that meant a lot of sacrifice and discipline both on the track and off. This is not to say that coaching at the elite level doesn’t need to evolve. While I disagree with what Mary has said publicly about her treatment by Oregon Project coaches and staff, her underlying message that elite coaching needs more women is a good one."

Mary Cain, Nike Oregon Project runners detail toxic culture under Alberto Salazar - Sports Illustrated ... estigation

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Sexual predators don't just groom their victims, they groom everyone around them | Metro News

Post by greybeard58 » Wed Dec 11, 2019 7:06 pm

Sexual predators don’t just groom their victims, they groom everyone around them Rebecca ReidThursday 19 Oct 2017 12:44 pm Share this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messenger (Picture: Getty) Emmeline May, the same woman who brought us the amazing tea and consent video that trended a few years back, has taken to Twitter to explain something about abuse which we all need to be aware of. We all understand that grooming takes place, but many of us misunderstand the scale to which it happens. It’s easy to hear the word grooming and assume that you’re talking about older men talking to children online. But there is, in fact, much more to the issue of grooming. Not only does grooming happen among adults, but also, sexual predators don’t just groom their victim. They groom their friends, their family, even their co-workers, all to make everyone around them supporters of what they’re doing. Emmeline explains this epidemic in a Twitter thread, writing: ‘What is not well understood is how sexual predators don’t just “groom” victims. They groom everyone around them that they need as supporters.’ Emmeline explains that for sexual predators to get away with their actions, they have to groom people to make sure they like and support them. That’s why so many sexual predators are described as charming, nice guys by their friends, families, and the people they work with. When a sexual predator is in a position of power, this becomes easier. They’re not just grooming people to like them, they’re making people think they need them – that they’ll benefit from the relationship. These techniques, Emmeline explains, not only allows predators to get away with their actions, but also works to discredit the accounts of victims. It’s amazing how something so patently true could also be something that you didn’t realise before. We spoke to women last week whose friendship groups had maintained bonds with the men who sexually assaulted them, which plays in to exactly what Emmeline is discussing. If a sexual predator creates a culture of love and respect from those around him (or her) then if someone does dare to make an accusation, they’re less likely to be taken seriously. In Weinstein’s case we’re talking about power, money and career advancement, but in ‘normal’ people’s lives it can be much smaller than that, as simple as always getting the first round in or giving extremely generous presents. Signs of grooming offering advice or understanding buying gifts giving the person excessive attention using their professional position or reputation taking them on trips, outings or holidays. The point of Emmeline’s tweets is not to force you to question everyone you meet who is kind or generous. On a day-to-day basis we can enjoy kindness and generosity. MORE: LIFESTYLE How drunk are you allowed to get at your work Christmas party? Try this Military Fitness home workout for a quick strength and cardio fix Man shares how he saved £570k and retired at the age of 24 But, when someone makes an accusation of sexual assault, and the person they accuse is known to be extremely generous, flattering, and fits the profile of a groomer, perhaps rather than taking their reputation at face value and assuming that that person couldn’t possibly be guilty, it would be worth viewing their behaviours with this tendency in mind. It might well be that the victim is not the only person who has been groomed. MORE: Babestation model dedicates her life to combating exploitation after escaping pimp MORE: Woman’s Facebook post perfectly explains rape-victim blaming

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

Post by greybeard58 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:45 pm

Sex offender coached kids for 20 years after Boy Scouts discovered abuse

In the 1980s, the Boy Scouts discovered a dirty little secret about one of their Scoutmasters: he was an accused child molester.

Leaders of Depew Troop #565 appear to have secured Douglas W. Nail’s resignation within days.

But because the matter was handled “internally” and not reported to law enforcement, Nail spent the next 20 years coaching youth hockey, where he is alleged to have struck again -- this time molesting an 8-year-old.

Those allegations against the hockey coach are included in a lawsuit filed last week in State Supreme Court alleging Nail molested a child when he was coach of the Depew Saints Hockey Club from 1985 to 1992.

The 7 Eyewitness News I-Team was able to piece together confidential records from attorneys suing the Boy Scouts of America, as well as news reports and a separate lawsuit filed under the Child Victims Act, to create a timeline of how Nail joined multiple youth organizations and allegedly molested children before he was convicted in 2004 of possessing child pornography.

TIMELINE -- Douglas W. Nail

1968 -- Boy Scout Troop #565 is formed at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Depew. Douglas W. Nail is one of its original members, he later states in a letter.

April 1, 1978 -- Nail becomes Scoutmaster, a post he will retain for the next six years.

Sept. 30, 1984 -- Committee Chairperson of Troop #565 writes in a letter that the committee was “informed by the parents of two Boy Scouts (approx. age 12) that at a recent sleepover attended by a group of young scouts at the apartment of Scoutmaster Doug Nail, it was observed by one scout and confirmed by another scout that Scoutmaster Doug Nail had...fondled one of the boys.”

“When confronted with the above fact,” the letter states, Nail “did not deny the incident took place.”

The committee chairperson states the adults on the scout committee “do not feel that he should be in direct contact with young scouts any longer” but because of Nail’s “stated willingness to go for professional assistance in sexual identity, perhaps his future activities could be channeled into such matters which involve only adults’ participation, as he has expressed a sincere desire to continue in scouting.”

Oct. 1, 1984 -- In a letter to the Troop Committee, Nail writes, “It is with great sadness that due to personal reasons, I feel that I must resign as Scoutmaster.”

But Nail hints at a possible return, stating, “I don’t want to retire completely from scouting, because I have so much to offer and because I really enjoy scouting; but I must take and put scouting on the back burner for a while...I hope you will not think to [sic] unkindly of me and some day I can come back as a committeeman or even as its Scoutmaster.”

Approx. 1985 -- Nail becomes a hockey coach for the Depew Saints Hockey Club, where he allegedly sexually assaulted an 8-year-old child. (These details emerged in a lawsuit filed under the Child Victims Act in 2020).

Dec. 2, 1988 -- Scout official from the Greater Niagara Frontier Council writes to the national scouting office in Texas, “Please be advised that the individual indicated, Douglas W. Nail, is on the ‘Confidential’ list of the Boy Scouts of America.”

Dec. 28, 1988 -- Boy Scouts’ confidential record sheet states Nail’s alleged molestation of a boy scout was resolved in the following way: “Internal (only Scouts know)”

Feb. 29, 1989 -- A national Boy Scout official writes to a local scout executive to say Nail’s case “has been reviewed with our attorney and is now on our permanent Confidential File.”

Jan. 2004 -- Federal authorities raid Nail’s home in Depew and charge him with possession of child pornography.

The same day he is charged, Nail is “relieved of his position” as coach of the Depew Saints ‘midget’ squad, “a house-league team for 15- and 16-year-old boys,” according to a 2004 article in The Buffalo News.

Aug. 26, 2004 -- Nail is convicted of federal child pornography charges and sentenced to 10 years in state prison.

Dec. 2, 2019 -- A plaintiff using the pseudonym LG 37 DOE files a Child Victims Act lawsuit against Nail and the Boy Scouts, alleging that from 1983-1987, Nail “sexually assaulted and committed battery upon the child at and during Boy Scout events and at other locations.”

The lawsuit states that the Boy Scouts “failed to report to the police or other governmental agencies sexual crimes” committed by Nail in Boy Scout Troop #565.

The alleged victim was approximately 11 years old at the time of the alleged abuse, according to the lawsuit.

Jan. 7, 2020 -- A plaintiff using the pseudonym LG 38 DOE files a Child Victims Act lawsuit against Nail and the Saints Hockey Club, alleging that from Jan. 1, 1985 to 1992, Nail “sexually assaulted and committed battery upon the child at his home and various hockey tournaments and events…”

The alleged victim was approximately 8 years old at the time of the alleged abuse, according to the lawsuit.

Present -- Nail, according to New York State’s sex offender registry, lives in a house on Bryant Street in Depew. He did not immediately return a message seeking comment Monday.

Sex offender coached kids for 20 years after Boy Scouts discovered abuse ... ered-abuse

Read the Child Victims Act lawsuit against Nail, the Saints Hockey Club and USA Hockey: ... -Nail.html

Read the Boy Scouts' files on Nail: ... las-W.html

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