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Weatherford
May. 16, 2000, 12:05 AM
IÂ’ve been thinking about this subject for a long time, and I will admit, it is a hard one to broach.

Sexual abuse comes in a myriad of shapes and sizes and forms – but it is always about power: the power of one person over another. Generally, that is older male over younger female, but it can be older male over younger female, older female over younger male or younger female. Generally the victim fells helpless and guilty and has no clue of where to turn. Often s/he is not believed, even by her own parents. Or s/he feels so embarrassed and rotten about herself and so guilty, that she doesn’t believe her parents will believe.

Case in point: There was a trainer indicted by the Morris County Grand Jury here in NJ for sexually abusing his underage female students. According to the reports, he told them they would never be allowed to ride again if they told their parents. He told them their parents would never believe them over him. Thank God for the one student who spoke up, and the others who joined her!

This should NEVER happen. That trainer should NEVER be allowed NEAR young women again – and certainly not in a trainer capacity. The AHSA, as well as all local associations should permanately ban him from taking part in any equine activities – if he is ever allowed to leave jail. That is my not so humble opinion. And, by the way, it is illegal to have sex with someone who is underage. It is called RAPE.

My real concern is the victims – are we doing anything to help those who are victimized? Can we set up a support system? Are you parents aware of people who are listed on your various states' Sex Offenders site? (email me) Should these people have access to our young riders - especialy as trainers? What can we do to prevent this?

Unfortunately, IMHO, society, in its attempt to safeguard the belief of innocent until proven guilty – a very important part of our society – has made the victims of sexual abuse also to be victims of the system. In order to put an offender behind bars, you have to have the strength to be smeared though the mud. And that is hard. Very hard – it is often easier to just move away and go the other direction. Avoid the offender.

But, that only puts others at risk – so, please, if you find yourself in this position, get help, file charges, and get more help. Starting right here, if need be. You are right to act, and even more right to put that creep – whoever it is – out of business.

Anyone who needs to is welcome to email me personally for all the support they need.


[This message has been edited by Weatherford (edited 05-16-2000).]

Weatherford
May. 16, 2000, 12:05 AM
IÂ’ve been thinking about this subject for a long time, and I will admit, it is a hard one to broach.

Sexual abuse comes in a myriad of shapes and sizes and forms – but it is always about power: the power of one person over another. Generally, that is older male over younger female, but it can be older male over younger female, older female over younger male or younger female. Generally the victim fells helpless and guilty and has no clue of where to turn. Often s/he is not believed, even by her own parents. Or s/he feels so embarrassed and rotten about herself and so guilty, that she doesn’t believe her parents will believe.

Case in point: There was a trainer indicted by the Morris County Grand Jury here in NJ for sexually abusing his underage female students. According to the reports, he told them they would never be allowed to ride again if they told their parents. He told them their parents would never believe them over him. Thank God for the one student who spoke up, and the others who joined her!

This should NEVER happen. That trainer should NEVER be allowed NEAR young women again – and certainly not in a trainer capacity. The AHSA, as well as all local associations should permanately ban him from taking part in any equine activities – if he is ever allowed to leave jail. That is my not so humble opinion. And, by the way, it is illegal to have sex with someone who is underage. It is called RAPE.

My real concern is the victims – are we doing anything to help those who are victimized? Can we set up a support system? Are you parents aware of people who are listed on your various states' Sex Offenders site? (email me) Should these people have access to our young riders - especialy as trainers? What can we do to prevent this?

Unfortunately, IMHO, society, in its attempt to safeguard the belief of innocent until proven guilty – a very important part of our society – has made the victims of sexual abuse also to be victims of the system. In order to put an offender behind bars, you have to have the strength to be smeared though the mud. And that is hard. Very hard – it is often easier to just move away and go the other direction. Avoid the offender.

But, that only puts others at risk – so, please, if you find yourself in this position, get help, file charges, and get more help. Starting right here, if need be. You are right to act, and even more right to put that creep – whoever it is – out of business.

Anyone who needs to is welcome to email me personally for all the support they need.


[This message has been edited by Weatherford (edited 05-16-2000).]

jch
May. 16, 2000, 12:30 AM
This is an important topic and not just for riders! Whenever we entrust our children to another adult, we must do everything we can to ensure that they are safe. That includes safe from any kind of abuse, verbal, physical and certainly sexual. We, as parents, have to take the time to listen to our kids-sometimes they talk in circles. Look for any changes in behavior. Are there new friends(that make you feel funny), are they overly angry or quiet or just acting in a way that makes you think that something is wrong? We all want things to be wonderful for our kids, so sometimes we try to look past odd behavior by thinking it's a phase or growing pains. It might be, but it might not. Ask your child direct questions if you are concerned-it lets them know you will believe them. Also, pop in and out of lessons or other situations where they are left with the other adult. You will have a better idea of what is going on that way. Finally, I do not listen to gossip, but if you hear something about the behavior of any adult who has contact with your child, be alert. Watch the way that person interacts with kids and other adults. Trust your gut feelings! No one wants to hear bad news, but if you don't hear about your children's problems, you can't help them find a solution.


[This message has been edited by jch (edited 05-15-2000).]

CTT
May. 16, 2000, 01:23 AM
Weatherford and all help me answer this question.
We have riders trainers and ect. baned by the AHSA for abuse to the horses, but everyday at the barn or shows we are sourounded by sex ofenders. yet there is a list of riders baned for abuseing there horses but the proper background checks have not been taken to weed out the ofenders when hired. Why is this. Why don't we have a list. Why do we tolerate people like this? How can we as a group develope something to aware riders and parents of the posable problems that might ocur. We have backgroung checks when we get a job in a larger business so why are people not makeing a list for the parents. If anyone would like to make it known to me or weatherford of people that you would want to be put on such list please let us know. No person neads to walk into a trap. We nead to bring these people to the surface. Even if it hurts there carear.They should not represent this sport in anyway and should not have the abilaty to hurt more. Parents, Students Trainers lets take a stand and make it known we will not stand for any of this trash.

Louise
May. 16, 2000, 07:40 AM
A VERY important topic. Thank you for bringing it up, Weatherford. There is also a site that gives you a link to whatever sex offender list each state is providing on line. E-mail me for the address for that site. It is so important that parents be as aware as possible about who their children have the possibility of associating with at the shows that they attend, and, even at home.

[This message has been edited by LOUISE (edited 05-16-2000).]

Weatherford
May. 16, 2000, 09:01 AM
CTT - that is an excellent question. When I approached a member of the AHSA staff regarding the person here in NJ, I was told to wait until he was convicted, then send the info to the AHSA, and they would take action accordingly. Unfortunately, getting that info has not been easy.

Since Nancy Jaffer broke the original story,maybe she can help us? If anyone knows how to reach her, please contact me! Thanks.

N&B&T
May. 16, 2000, 09:12 AM
Weatherford, thank you for broaching this, as difficult as it may have been. I hope the young woman who posted her story on the drugs/alcohol thread will repost it here, as it may do her and many others much good.

IMO, abuse--or sometimes, misuse--of power is at the bottom of many of the issues discussed here.

May. 16, 2000, 09:40 AM
A quick PRACTICAL story to warn parents of the realities: when my daughter was about 7, her school bus driver was arrested for abusing two other girls from another school. When I had "the talk" again with her and reminded her never to let strangers do or say whatever, her reply was, "but Mom, he's not a stranger - he's my driver." What a blunt reminder of how careful and precise we must be!

One other situation: while stable employees in many cases are long-term and wonderful, in some others they are short-term and very transient, especially at shows. I have a very hard and very fast rule that my daughter will NEVER be in the barn alone without a parent or trainer or two other specified employees that I know and trust!

showrider
May. 16, 2000, 11:19 AM
I have some really good information for all on this topic. Maybe I should say I have first hand experience in this. It's not even having the victims talk to someone about it. Parents, friends, and relatives need to learn how to read a problem WITHOUT words being said. They need to read how the person is acting. In my case, I acted out really bad. I ran away for days at a time. I stole from my parents and stores ( I was never caught though, even though I wanted to be ). I lied about everything, I drank and did drugs. I fought with everyone about everything. The sadest part is that I didn't own a horse, so this had nothing to do with being at the barn.

There were 4 tragedies:
I was screwed by the system. Someone didn't notify that he was released early. He only served 2 years of a 12 year sentence.
He was a priest, then turned ex-priest, who lived in our house.
It was happening to my sister as well, for over 16 years.
And last but not least, I started doing all those bad things around the young age of 9.

My best advice would have to be, pay attention!!!!!

There ARE signs. You just need to see them. If you have a person, no matter the age nor gender, suddenly strat acting totally different. They could be either outspoken, then all of a sudden become really soft spoken. On the other hand, you could have someone who is what is considered a "good kid", become a real trouble maker.
These are just 2 of the most common signs. Open your eyes. Let them know that you are there for them, and you will NEVER judge them. Make them feel safe, and maybe they will open up

Black Market Radio
May. 16, 2000, 11:35 AM
The barn I used to board at is the nicest facility in the area, and the way my old trainer got it was that it was a forclosure. However, it has a dark side. The guy who owned it before was locked up for molesting the male students. My trainer has changed the name of the place, and it doesn't happen much anymore, but they still every once in awhile have suspicions of the place. But after they realize it's under new ownership as well as a new name, they are fine. The first couple of years were hard though. But they have built a really good reputation now. Thank goodness for whoever spoke up in that situation! I don't know the details, but I guess it was a really bad case. Especially in the middle of a small farming community!

rescuemom
May. 16, 2000, 11:44 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Unfortunately, IMHO, society, in its attempt to safeguard the belief of innocent until proven guilty – a very important part of our society – has made the victims of sexual abuse also to be victims of the system. In order to put an offender behind bars, you have to have the strength to be smeared though the mud. And that is hard. Very hard – it is often easier to just move away and go the other direction. Avoid the offender.[/B]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I could not agree more that no child (or adult) should have to go through sexual abuse or the system abuse that often follows an accusation. Parents should take all steps possible to safeguard their children. But the "innocent until proven guilty" belief is just as important, and strikes a note with me because of a situation in my town. A jr. high teacher was accused of "improper touching" by several of his students. The students were all friends and all achievers. The teacher had been in the county schools for almost 30 years. Because the accusers were all A-students, their initial statements were taken as truth. The teacher was immediately removed from the school while the matter was being investigated, and the case was heavily reported in the local news, effectively destroying the teacher's career. No problem you say? Anyone accused of such a thing should be destroyed? The kids lied. They were angry at the teacher for reprimanding them, and they got together and fabricated the story.

So when you as a parent are investigating,
focus on fact and not innuendo. Leaving soapbox now ...

Weatherford
May. 16, 2000, 11:53 AM
Exactly what I am afraid of, RescueMom, and why I stated "a very important part of our society" and believe that innocent until proven guilty is critical.

The balance is very, very difficult - and critically important. Perhaps keeping the press out is one option - I really can't amswer that.

However, I also believe there is a serious need in our sport to HEAR and help the victims - and I also believe there are more out there than anyone wants to admit. The long term effects of child sexual abuse far far outweigh anything. And the proof may be more in the behavioral problems others have mentioned than in the accusations.

Thanks for your balance, RescueMom.

wtywmn4
May. 16, 2000, 12:10 PM
This is such an important subject, and one that our industry wants to turn a blind eye to. Our NF ie: AHSA, needs to be more involved. From what I have been told, they will not get involved. IMHO it probably has to do with legalities, but what happened to morals?

One of the news shows, 60 Minutes, 48 hours or Twenty Twenty just did a piece on children being out of countrol. How bout parenting? This is a lost art. Peoples lives are so busy, they want to be their kids friend, and they don't have time. It is such a loose knit structure, that no one is in charge. More like the rise and fall of the Roman empire than anything else.

It won't go away, till we do something about it. Will step down now, thank you....

Regalmeans
May. 16, 2000, 12:30 PM
This is a very very scary issue, one which is all to common- and not just in riding. When I was in 7th grade I was switched to a different school- a week before the school opened a teacher from it was arrested for molesting a teenage boy. My mom and I have met this teacher at an open house and liked him - and I would have had him for my firsth term math class! Scary huh? I also have a trainer/friend who used to teach an occasional lesson at a certain barn in NJ. Then she found out that the 'manager' was molesting female students and was able to help close the barn down. I do not know what happened to the trainer though.

I agree that you can never be to careful...ever! - and - just b/c someone is a wonderful trainer does NOT mean you can necessarily trust your kids with them!

Sarah

J. Turner
May. 16, 2000, 02:24 PM
Usually we cannot name people on this site because it is hearsay or gossip. However, if there is an official, competitor, or employee of a horse show (someone above mentioned the Florida circuit, for instance), who has been legally convicted and can be corroborated by public, reliable sources (such as a state sex offender list), couldn't he or she (shouldn't he or she) be mentioned???? I think so.

If there is somebody such as this, within easy reach of thousands of children, I implore you, identify this person. I believe it is your duty, as long as you document your source.

Becca
May. 16, 2000, 02:39 PM
It certainly is a problem- especially at the older Jr levels, where they'r ending high school, not sure of who we are, or what we want, extremely vulnerable. The old director of riding at Stonleigh Burnham (who I believe is now in Jail..) was convicted of having affairs with students- some who were only freshman. A huge amount of his riders "Fell to his charm" and were raped, etc by him. Its scarry to think- I'm going off to private school next year, adn you really are out from under your parents wing. And only so much faith and responsibility can be l;aid onto the hands of the trainer taking them down to Florida, or even out of state for the weekend. Its scarry, and our society certainly reflects why the fear exists.

The careers of the people who have been discovered were ended- as they should have been. But, being a teenager living in this world, the awareness level is so low, and things like that do happen- fear is created to such a high point, that no one wants to do anything.

Portia
May. 16, 2000, 03:09 PM
I certainly agree that sexual abuse is a significant problem of which we must be aware and vigilent, and that the people who engage in such abuse should be kept away from activities with children. However, I have a somewhat different perspective about accusing people publicly and "naming names," more in line with what Rescuemom posted.

It is such an emotional issue that people tend to react without considering that the facts might not justify that response. There are too many unfounded accusations, like rescue mom mentioned. One town, in a kind of Salem Witch Hunt panic, charged dozens of people of molesting children, some of whom were convicted and spent years in prison, before it was revealed that the police investigator who instigated the hysteria was overzealous and convinced his own stepchild to lie, and the social worker who met with the children in fact unconsciously conditioned them and led them into saying incriminating things -- as was apparent on the videotapes made of the sessions. The convictions have been overturned, but not before many lives were ruined.

I admit my perspective is tempered by my personal experience with one individual. I had a very good friend and colleague (not a horse person) who ended up charged and convicted for one incident in which he made the mistake of soliciting the wrong person in a bar. He was a closeted homosexual and was unable to reconcile his private life and sexuality with his career, and those pressures led him to make a single sad mistake, for which he paid dearly. A long story, but my friend ended up beaten up and his house set on fire. He was one of the finest people I have ever known, but if you only looked at what appeared in the public record, without knowing the facts behind it, you would not know that. He has since passed away, and his friends miss him terribly.

The bottom line, in my opinion, is that anyone who feels they are faced with such a situation should make sure they find out the underlying facts before trashing someone's life publicly, where immeasurable harm can be done. Just make sure you know the facts and evaluate them, then act as conscience dictates.

horsluvr
May. 16, 2000, 03:35 PM
That former director of riding at SB is running a (horse) business as we speak in the VT area. I saw the ad for the 'grand opening' in the peddlar or some such local publication. why the wife stayed with him I don't know but I hope he got his many "issues" under control before diving back into a profession saturated with adolescent females.

Erin
May. 16, 2000, 04:20 PM
Perhaps if there are worried parents here, people can exhange information via email. I think that's the point of the sexual offender registration system... to inform parents of minor children, not to broadcast past convictions for the world to see.

N&B&T
May. 16, 2000, 04:44 PM
As well as Weatherford, rescuemom and Portia deserve thanks for the balance that their well-expressed points of view provide.

A few comments which I hope will add to the discussion of this topic, and other serious problems discussed on this board:

The equestrian community is composed of horses and PEOPLE; and people will do what they do wherever they are...but it is a very self-contained community, and it sometimes seems to me that methods of dealing with problems concerning horses and/or ethics and/or abuse of various kinds often (NOT, repeat, NOT always!) fall into one of two extreme categories--the "everything is fine, some people are crazy/jealous/negative/busybodies, let's preserve a dignified silence" attitude; and the "all rumor and gossip has value, everyone with a different approach is wrong/misguided/corrupt, let's jump to conclusions without facts, be totally subjective and emotional, and vent without regard to the consequences" reaction to events. (None of us will recognize ourselve in either of these two groups, of course! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif)

It is very difficult to hold a measured, fair, and productive discussion which treats both the members of the equestrian community AS WELL AS the person/s under discussion with compassion AND with concern for effective and necessary positive actions or changes in the status quo.

I personally firmly believe that people who have made mistakes, of any kind, can truly change; and that if (repeat, IF) they do, they should be recognized as having done so, their growth as individuals should be acknowledged, and they should be allowed to put the past behind them. I also wish to emphasize that this may not always mean we can ignore their mistakes, and the implications these mistakes may have for both the equestrian community and the individual/s.

Finally, if people can get up in arms about the lack of respect for our sport implied by wearing a schooling helmet rather than a velvet hard hat, then shouldn't we be equally outraged at what we permit or endorse vis-a-vis treatment of both horses and people in our community?

Not to mention the frequent violation of the point of the whole thing, which, IMHO, is horsemanship and sportsmanship, the spirit of training and of regulated competition, and not merely the letter or appearance of the method or the goal.

The problem, of course, is determining exactly what constitutes such an offense, and what the correct response and/or course of action should be. I hope our collective wisdom is equal to the task. If we hope to do good, let us be scrupulously careful and just, lest we ourselves make damaging mistakes which cannot be undone.

wtywmn4
May. 16, 2000, 05:02 PM
horsluvr, saw the same thing. Let's hope those "issues" are under control. Otherwise, we'll read about it again...

Maggie
May. 16, 2000, 05:05 PM
You folks sure are tough.
If I get indicted for a crime and choose a jury trial, I hope there are no horsefolks on my jury.
I could be the first inhaler to get the death penalty. Maybe they'll just degrade me on the Chronicle boards forever...

Portia
May. 16, 2000, 07:06 PM
Nancey, beautifully said, really.

horsluvr
May. 16, 2000, 08:17 PM
Just because you don't face formal charges, it doesn't mean 'nothing' happened. It means it was plea bargained out of the judicial system to protect most probably the minor children involved.

[This message has been edited by Weatherford (edited 05-16-2000).]

Erin
May. 16, 2000, 08:34 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by horsluvr:
Just because you don't face formal charges, it doesn't mean 'nothing' happened. It means it was plea bargained out of the judicial system to protect most probably the minor children involved.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Uh, or maybe it means nothing happened... or maybe there wasn't enough evidence for investigators to be certain "beyond a reasonable doubt."

If formal charges weren't filed, as far as this board is concerned it didn't happen and the topic is completely off-limits.

Watch your step, folks... stick to issues, not individuals or individual incidents, please.

[This message has been edited by Erin (edited 05-16-2000).]

janedoe
May. 16, 2000, 09:21 PM
I realize this is a very sensitive issue we are discussing here but it is very important. I know it's not right to put the names of these people on a board but I do suggest that parents, kids, riders, etc do some seriously indepth researching on their trainers, grooms, etc. You can read my post in the drugs/alcohol column and although I never pressed charges, and just recently spoke out---if asked by a prospective client of his, or a current client, I will definitely share with them some of his downfalls. I always feared speaking out because of others not believing it and I realize that he wins that way. When things like this happen to you at a young age, it adversely effects your life for years. It completley consumes you, runs your life, makes your decisions, and that creep is walking around, searching for his next victim. Once I finally left that barn, all he did was spread horrible rumors about me, saying I was very sleezy, etc...all the while, he knew that I had never 'been with' another soul. I was so scared to speak out because I just figured no one would believe it. Some girl charging her trainer with these kind of accusations??? I just wish I could talk to each and every girl out there and warn them of this type of thing. The professional child molesters are very clever, they not only hurt you physically but emotionally and mentally. That's why it's so easy for them to get away with it. I don't mean to stand up here and preach but I really want to bring it to the attention of others that this is not a one in a million type of story. I have a few friends whom I later found out went through similar incidences--who left the industry as a whole because they couldn't deal with it any longer. I apologize if I have stepped on any toes or offended anyone, that has never been my intent. Thanks again for listening.

Weatherford
May. 16, 2000, 09:32 PM
Thanks again, Janedoe - Your courage inspires!

For those who have not read her post on the drugs and alcohol thread - please do so - it is important and needs to be heard.

Thanks again - I hope you and others like you realize that there is help, and there are people who really care.

Snowbird
May. 16, 2000, 11:24 PM
I think that as parents we have a real problem because we have mostly chosen this sport as a rather safe environment in which we can protect our children from the realities of a world which seems to be getting more and more ugly.

On the other hand there is this need to protect the culprits rather than the victims.
We give the children this opportunity to express love and responsibility. I have long worried over the fact that an attractive person who is friendly can make offers to children in this sport that would seduce them into believing that what is wrong is really right.

If the child believes that "winning" is everything and even the only thing to achieve excellence then we do the children a great diservice. We have created the fertile ground on which the predator stalks. Yes, it is true that a predator will take advantage of the sheltered child who wants to win with "promises". How many children would be able to say no! to someone who promised them the road to the Olympics?

So then, do we ban those who are predators or do we examine our principles which make the children vulnerable. I think we need to do both. I find it offensive that there are people out there known to be less than honest and yet are accepted as participants. I find it even more offensive that convicted predators are permitted to be in anyway in contact with the children who may become their future victims. I am tired of the idea that a horse thief needs to be protected from exposure, I am tired of the fact that a dishonest horse trader can be defended against anyone who publicly admonishes him. I am tired of the fact that we as potential victims cannot be shielded from contact with these people who violate the innocense of the children.

While there are people who defend their rights under our constituion and judicial law system, where are the advocates of the innocent victims of all these people.

[This message has been edited by Snowbird (edited 05-16-2000).]

wtywmn4
May. 16, 2000, 11:54 PM
And why oh why has our society seen to turn the other cheek on this sort of thing? If you say no, I beg to differ. Time and again, we see these people hide behind their 1st amendment rights, we cannot do anything against them. Their hands are slapped, they settle out of court and continue on as if nothing has happened. Jail time, if any is slight. They prey on our children, promise them the world, just to get close. We hear more and more stories of just what they have done!! This IS not acceptable behavior, nor should it EVER be.

J. Turner
May. 17, 2000, 11:53 AM
Erin, I have to say I disagree with you and probably some other people on the boards. Public legal knowledge is just that, public and legal to mention in public forums.

These are such serious crimes that are often repeated. As for rehabilitation, sexual offenders often admit that they cannot control themselves, that they will commit again when out of incarceration. Violating a child is not something that I personally could forgive.

It is perfectly fair, in a forum such as this that these people, if they are in close contact with children on the circuit, be mentioned.

Whom are we protecting if we don't? Certainly not the children.

CTT
May. 17, 2000, 01:56 PM
Its only been a day that this message has been up and wow Im impresed on the voice and power of some of the posts. Many good points have been made. Fisher your opinion is so true. It is power that is at the bottom of the issue here. with out power and controll how would these people survive? In the past month and a half we have hit on the topics of: unfare judgeing, anorexia, Alchol and drug abuse, and sexual misconduct. Parents say they like the fact that there childern are in this sport to get away from these things but it seams to be as prominent if not more prominent than we think. For all of these things we can not blame just one area. As I saw with the weight issue people were saying its more of the H/J/eq world that this happens in but is it that we see it more than other sports because it is so hiden? My sister was asistent manager of the San Antonio Rose for a fue years and she said that she would sell more beer and alcholic beveraged to the rodeo events than any of the other sports they had. But My sister said she would see more (too close for comfort) trainers too touchy with there students at the H/J shows. Because of what my sister saw she would warn me of trainers she preferd i not hang around. Her reasons were valid. Why are our trainers too close to our childern? We can sit and say well my daughter has a safe trainer but are they really safe. How can any parent be for sure that that person has not had a past incodent weather or not it has been recorded.

OSmeone had mentioned that the AHSA prefers not to get into this because of legalaties. but they are our governing bodies and it is there job to keep us safe. If we have no safty then why do we feel like we are safe. The AHSA can band a rider for abuse to a horse but not a rider for sexual abuse? And even if they do they half to be first tiped that it has hapend. But how many people have actualy been convicted? See the problem we have is that no one speaks up because they fear their saftey and life. I have seen some valid cases in my time and the main reason that thy are not charged is because there is no actual proof. Its one word against another. There have been saomany cry wolfs out there that the police don't know if it is real or not. I have been whitness to one of these faulse statements. My ex friend felt she was raped but how can she be raped if she was on top, if she did it mor than once. I talked to the investagator of this case and told him what I felt i also had a very long conversation on why these people get all the attention but the people who have been actualy asulted get little consideration. His reply was this. Many people who are infact raped don't come out untill the time after is too long. By then there is no proof. Its one word against another and with out hard evidence and other witnesses it hard to convict thats why if it is not an isolated situation it is best to find other victams With more victams even if it is one person ther is a better chance. I also asked him why some states release early when they know that they are guilty and could strike again. He said that its prioraty and even though he does not agree with this there are more killers than anything and they put emphasis on the murders and the drug dealers. Its the publisaty. he feels that sexual asult is as just important as the others and that they are more likly to repeat. Untill leguslation changes there views these people will be turned back into societywhere they do not belong. But what makes it hard to convict and prosacute is the people who feel they were asulted when they infact had not.

So the bottom line is that whats makeing it hard is all the people who make fals statements. Thats why it is extreamly important when you are actualy asulted to document it, go to the hospital (yes the police will get involved but the sooner maters are started the sooner it is over). Without a actual piece of hard evidence it is hard to point the finger that is why that sample pf the seamen is so important. its the only thing that can be physicly traced back to the perpatrator.

Erin I hate to say it but in maters like this since a conviction has been made and there is hard fact police evidence theat the names on this list should be alowed. If it is a fact that these people are on a such list then ther is no liabliaty cause it is hard and factual. now if the judgement is not in and they are only asumed to be then there is where names nead to remain silent. I have seen some of the names on this list and feel that they nead to be viewed by the public.

people like this curupt our hard and worked for industry. people who ware honest and clean are looked down upon because of these people.

Now its time for us to take action and do something about all of these isues. If our industrys governing bodies are not willing to do something its our job to develope a organization to deal with these hard topics. The people who are willing to take action such as me and weatherford can not do it alone. Her and I have spent countless hours talking about these things and the conclusion we come to is that we nead to step our foot in. I see many more sleepless nights ahead as i make my journie back east this june. I made a move by writing my story and its only a start but I took the time to write and let my side be heard. If it is published grate if not I try again. The more articles writen and submited to the various magazines the more these topics will come to be and the more power w will have to do something. As I said before if you want to help please do but be sure you are willing to stick with it. Me laura and weatherford have devoted countless hours to writeing, talking and thinking. If you feel you can make a diffrence please help us we can't do all of this alone.

Snowbird
May. 17, 2000, 01:58 PM
In our current letigious society everyone is afraid of being the recipient of a law suit. What does that do to our civil rights? Why are the rights of the culprits more important than the rights of honest and hard working public?

I find a growing concern that in our efforts as honorable people we have been deprived of the very rights and privileges granted to those who violate the law. The culprit suffers a few days penance but the victim suffers from a loss of self esteem forever!

I commend the poster who disclosed the business practices of Andrew Philbrick for their courage. Who is here willing to risk a law suit by posting the "public record" of the offenders that we should watch out for?

[This message has been edited by Snowbird (edited 05-17-2000).]

Pewter
May. 17, 2000, 02:41 PM
Ok Snowbird.....it's not like you to back down. What's one more post on your 1310?

Erin
May. 17, 2000, 03:21 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by J. Turner:
Erin, I have to say I disagree with you and probably some other people on the boards. Public legal knowledge is just that, public and legal to mention in public forums.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes, it's public knowledge, and I'm not going to delete it if someone posts it. I just think people should know all of the details before broadcasting information like that to thousands of people, and be sure that what they're doing is necessary.

I'm one of those people who really hates it when local news stations play up those "could there be a sexual offender in YOUR neighborhood?" stories. They cause a lot of panic that may not be necessary. I think parents should be informed of these people, definitely. But not the whole world. The information is out there for other people to find if they want it.

Publicly broadcasting the fact that someone has been convicted of a sexual offense is going to cause a lot more repercussions for that person that saying they'd been convicted of income tax fraud or something like that. I agree that parents should know these things, which is why I suggested that information be exchanged between knowledgeable and concerned parties via email.

But I don't need to know.. it doesn't affect me, nor does it affect 95% of the people here. If you want my honest opinion, I think the desire to share names has a lot to do with the gossipy nature of the horse world, as seen by the somewhat perverted "You think you have problems" thread I closed yesterday.

If someone has publicly documented information they think is important to share, I won't stop them. But I hope they'll think long and hard about what they're doing before they post.

Erin
May. 17, 2000, 03:35 PM
BTW, I should add that not everyone who has been convicted of a sexual offense is a serial child molester. There are registered "sexual predators" who are definitely nasty people. Sexual offenses cover a wide range of crimes, as Portia's story about her friend illustrates.

laura
May. 17, 2000, 03:40 PM
Just like the saying "Think globally, act locally" It's true that sexual abuse is not limited to the horse world, but this is where we have the power to fight it. The more people that get involved here, the more power we have as a group. I understand why the AHSA might hesitate to get involved, and why it might not be the best idea to post name here, but something has to be done. I wonder if there's a way to create sort of a PTA in the horse world, an organization of parents, trainers, and anyone else that wants to get involved to discuss and take action on these issues that might not fall under what the AHSA considers its jurisdiction. I dont know if thats possible, or if it would even do any good anyway - just popped into my head. (oh sorry - CTT I went back and reread your post and you mentioned something like this, maybe its something we should look into)

CTT, you make good points about the importance of acting quickly and reporting a sexual assault. I was raped over four years ago, and never reported it. Now there's no way for me to do anything about it. I was ashamed, scared, and it was just plain easier to push it out of my head and pretend it never happened. I didnt tell anyone at all until about six months ago, and now here I am doing all this. I totally understand the mentality to keep it quiet, but believe me, just because you dont tell anyone and try to ignore it, its impossible to push it out of your mind. Sexual abuse of any kind is a horrible, terrible crime, and it will come back to haunt you if you dont deal with it. For the sake of others that might become victims its important to report it. I'm sure that there are people who think Im hypocritical for saying that because I didnt report it when it happened to me, but so be it - Its important.

Other than trying to get our stories published, I'm not sure what action we can take to fight this. I dont know much about the legal side of it. CTT and Weatherford we may have to have a brainstorming session. The more people get involved, the more that can be done.


[This message has been edited by laura (edited 05-17-2000).]

Goodyfourshoes!
May. 17, 2000, 04:15 PM
I am on the board of a national organization involved with Equine sports. Recently at a meeting, it was brought to our attention that we had recieved an inquiry regarding a certain individual who may - or may not - had been involved with some form of (we don't know) sexual molestation. This individual has applied for membership in a chapter of our organization. The letter queried whether any of us had heard of this individual in our area, should we allow him membership, did we know anything about the charges. I was MORTIFIED. The person questioning had no proof, and even if he/she did, we cannot judge this person, or deny membership, based on something that is totally irrelevant (and it is irrelevant - just because a person wishes to join a sport, does not make him/her a sexual predator in search of easy prey). In fact, in Canada, putting this sort of allegation in writing, and forwarding it to a - very public - group, without proof - could be considered slander.

This is very dicey ground here, folks. Yes, the victims should be protected. But, please, please have your facts straight before you go destroying a person's good name. I agree that a convicted offender should be public knowledge. But only to those whom it would affect. It's a fine line between "public knowledge and right to know" and a witch hunt.

laura
May. 17, 2000, 04:25 PM
This is from the site of the Violence Against Women Office about what different groups can do to help prevent sexual abuse. I found it at:
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/vawo/speeches/cheklist.htm

Sports

Today, more than ever, our sports players and organizations have an enormous capacity to influence the minds and behaviors of Americans, both young and old. The reason is simple. For many Americans, professional, college and olympic athletes are today's heroes. We must utilize this outlet to send a positive message to all Americans about preventing domestic violence and sexual assault. Following are a number of ways communities can work with the local sports industry to help stop the violence.


Bring Sports Leagues Together in a Common Cause. Encourage local sports teams to come together in a joint effort to combat violence against women through joint awareness campaigns and public appearances.

Create Strict Disciplinary Policies. Encourage the creation of disciplinary policies for players on domestic violence and violence against women similar to drug policies. These policies should include stiff sanctions and penalties for committing domestic violence and sexual assault.

Push for PSAs During Broadcast of Sporting Events. Write or call sports leagues in support PSAs about violence against women during the broadcast of major sporting events, including NCAA games.

Promote the Distribution of Educational Materials. Promote the distribution of educational materials from local shelters and programs to players by offering the materials to the teams.

Involve Local Sports Heroes in Community Activities. Involve local sports heroes in rallies and events which bring attention to the problem of violence against women.

Reach Out to Potential Sponsors. If there are businesses in the area that are known for making or selling sporting equipment or clothing, approach them for sponsorship of community awareness activities.

Louise
May. 17, 2000, 04:26 PM
We have one of the best justice systems in the world, but it is NOT infallible. There have been too many cases where a person has been unfairly convicted of many different types of crimes, to place your faith 100% in the reasoning that if a person is convicted, there are no extenuating circumstances involved. The fact that there has been a conviction is often a good place to start, but IMO you should make sure that you, personally, know ALL the facts before you broadcast this type of information.

We need to weed out those people who would harm our children, and Laura, I think that the idea of a PTA type organization has great merit. But, we need, also, to be careful that we do not start a witch hunt.

Having said that, I want to reiterate that I think that it is important that parents be as well informed as possible. I stated this in the top of this thread, but, as many people do not start at the top of a topic each time, I want to restate that I have the address for a site that will guide you to whatever sexual predator sites each state has made available. I will not print it here, simply because I'm not sure that the kids need to see it (probably overprotective, but thats the way I feel), but, if you will e-mail me, I will be glad to give it to you.

Flash44
May. 17, 2000, 09:22 PM
I am totally supportive of prosecuting anyone guilty of committing any kind of sexual crime against anyone, man, woman or child. However, I feel like I need to make a few points:

A parent of a child needs to be aware of any time their child spends alone with an adult. I know girls love to hang out at the barn, but parents should make sure that there are several people in attendance.

Girls DEVELOP CRUSHES VERY EASILY, especially on men who are in a mentor type situation that they look up to. I would bet any amount of money that most male trainers (married or single) who are even slightly attractive have students that have crushes on them. I am just stating a fact, not absolving the trainer of any blame.

Even if someone has been found guilty of something, you can still be liable for damages if you broadcast these facts extensively and ruin the person's business (Portia?).

LucianCephus
May. 17, 2000, 11:01 PM
It's my understanding that libel laws cover only defamatory remarks that are UNTRUE. But, then, I'm certainly not an attorney!

oxer
May. 18, 2000, 04:52 AM
Be careful that you don't "bring down these boards" The topic here is one of incredible importance, both on an individual and collegial level. But I feel it is important to be very clear before posting on the web. Before you post you should be able to envision yourself standing before a camera on the nightly news and saying what you are about to post. Because that is what the www is about--"world wide", and totally accessible to anyone.
This is an issue which we need to be supportive of one another, but keep to the issue and solutions. Don't "cross the line" carelessly, without forethought. Personalizing it only trivializes the issue and loses support. Individual issues are best left for private womens' groups or anonomus rooms of 12-step abuse groups. Building bonfires only weakens the entire structure and makes us all look like angry, resentful rabble-rousers. This issue is too important. This is indeed a public forum, but it is not a public soapbox.

CarrieK
May. 18, 2000, 07:51 AM
Just some (long) random thoughts about this topic from someone who works in law enforcement and has some knowledge of the workings of courts and the criminal justice system.

Someone earlier had posted that if there were no charges filed, it doesn't mean that nothing happened, but that a plea was reached (I'm paraphrasing so I apologize if I've got this wrong). That's not correct.

If no charges were filed it's because the prosecutor's office decided, basically, that there was not enough evidence to garner a conviction. They reviewed police reports, medical reports, and other evidence, they interviewed victims and witnesses, and decided that the evidence was not sufficient.

The plea bargain comes in when the prosecutors have sufficient evidence for a prosecution, but agree to a lesser charge for a number of reasons (over-crowded jails; certainty of conviction on the lesser charge weighed against a possible conviction on the greater charge; suspect giving tesimony to convict another suspect).

Another writer wondered if this BB is a not-so-public forum. The answer is yes, it is a not-so-public forum. This forum is owned by the Chronicle and we are here only by their invitation(much as a grocery store or pub invites us in). And, just as one can be banned from a bar for becoming disorderly, one can be un-invited from this forum if the administrators deem it in the best interest of the Chronicle itself or this board in particular. And, much like a restaurant can enforce a dress code or otherwise moderate the behavior of their invitees, the Chronicle can moderate the behavior of posters here, by the criteria they see fit. Which translates into closed threads or rules about naming names.

There is much frustration over the belief that suspects rights supercedes those of victims. Coming from the background which I do, I know this frustration first-hand. On the other hand (soap box alert), it is my strident belief that the criminal justice system of the United States is the most logical, fair, and ethical on the planet. Absolutely there are times when the guilty walk and the innocent are convicted; nothing which pertains to human interpretation--evidence and laws--can be proved to a certainty, the rules of evidence and the criminal justice system are complex, and opinions can be bought and sold. Nonetheless, this system is the greatest.

On the website of the state police of my state--and with whom I'm employed--you can punch in a state zip code and you can discover all the registered sex offenders in the area. That is the appropriate forum for the identity of registered sex offenders, in my opinion, whereas this forum is appropriate for discussing ways to identify the problem as it exists in our sport, and ways to educate and combat it.

Erin
May. 18, 2000, 11:36 AM
Weatherford... it was not her intention to have this thread be a witch hunt; it was to discuss a serious issue.

MBS
May. 18, 2000, 11:40 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Erin:
Yes, it's public knowledge, and I'm not going to delete it if someone posts it. I just think people should know all of the details before broadcasting information like that to thousands of people, and be sure that what they're doing is necessary.

. The information is out there for other people to find if they want it.

But I don't need to know.. it doesn't affect me, nor does it affect 95% of the people here. If you want my honest opinion, I think the desire to share names has a lot to do with the gossipy nature of the horse world, as seen by the somewhat perverted "You think you have problems" thread I closed yesterday.

If someone has publicly documented information they think is important to share, I won't stop them. But I hope they'll think long and hard about what they're doing before they post. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


Two things here. 1.it was deleted by Weatherford. and 2. I can't believe the seceond part of this quote "that it doesn't affect me" statement I am shocked at what I found out this morning but more shocked that many others knew this and now that it comes out on a thread they started it gets deleted.

horsluvr
May. 18, 2000, 11:57 AM
Erin and Weatherford have a "good cop/bad cop" thing going here. So what does a witch hunt make? When does freedom of information and/or speech cross the line to litigious gossip? If it HAPPENED..if someone say, LOST THEIR JOB over it...then why must we assume "zebras" when we hear hoofbeats outside our door????? I think IF you don't want controversial and sensitive issues posted then DON'T POST THEM!!! This thread was started by a MODERATOR!!! So either stop opening the Pandoras Boxes or stick to topics like hoof paint and breeches material. To heck with substance.

Jumphigh83
May. 18, 2000, 12:01 PM
I wonder how many children (girls OR boys) Erin and Weatherford have that go to the shows?? Could this color their complacency re: this issue?

CTT
May. 18, 2000, 12:04 PM
Ok everyone for thoes of you who did in fact see that link now you know. Im not going to defend this person for there actions but in time people do get there act together. If you noiced it sohapend to be as we see a icolated incodent and the person is under supervision. In other words they mess up or have a tip there lives are literaly screwed. So when you know that if you are being watched it makes you less likely. I think that yes it was a bad thing but how can some of us sit here and destroy a life without first confronting them. Before we sit and destroy this persons life and make it public lets first hear what this person has to say. Instead of concentraiting on the ones who have been convicted lets concentrait on the ones who have not. its a touchy issue. Thnk how this so easaly will ruin someones life and we have not taken the time to hear the story. Maby this person can instead of being our enemy at the moment be an asset to us. see this person has been there and could tell us what it was like to be in this persons shoes. As I have said before in many posts: take a wilk in there shoes and have a feel of what life is like for them. It is fact but before we destroy lives here lets here it from this person. Weatherford you know I dislike people like this but comeon people lets not detroy a life without knowing the whole story.

horsluvr
May. 18, 2000, 12:25 PM
I believe that the GUILTY party "ruined" their OWN life. They should have considered the reprocussions of their actions BEFORE they DID them. What is with society today?? We bend over backward to protect the guilty! What about the many victims and potential victims out there? The rate of recidivism for a crime of this nature is extremely high. Anytime you want to take your head out of the sand? It will NOT go away by ignoring it.

Erin
May. 18, 2000, 12:31 PM
It was Weatherford's decision to start this thread, I assume because she felt it was important that it be discussed and that parents not be blindly trusting of everyone at horse shows. She's gone out of town, and emailed me this morning telling me she had deleted posts in reference to one person, asked me to keep a close eye on the thread and not close it.

Jumphigh, if you'll notice, I said the information should be shared among the people who do have kids going to shows... most definitely. But it should not be shared with, say, me, because I don't.

If you go and look at some of the state sexual offender registration sites, they don't just list all the people registered. They ask you to either provide a name (i.e. your new babysitter) or a zip code, city name, county name, etc., so you can find out of your new neighbor has a sexual conviction. Obviously, the point of that is to make the information available to those whom it immediately affects.

I didn't see the post that was deleted, so I don't know what was said. But I stand by my statements that people shouldn't post information like this for thousands to see if they don't know the whole story and are legitimately concerned that someone could be in danger.

Portia
May. 18, 2000, 12:37 PM
Just a clarification, I think Erin meant her last sentence to read "... are not legitimately concerned that someone could be in danger."

And, as is clear from my earlier post, I agree with her.

[This message has been edited by Portia (edited 05-18-2000).]

May. 18, 2000, 12:39 PM
Erin, I have emailed you privately, as you know, but I will say this publicly. I implore you to shut down and delete this topic as long as it contains clearly stated or implied personal attacks. No good can come of it.

I would guess that 99% of us have absolutely no first-hand knowledge of alleged OR "legally factual" incidents, and have no right to comment on them without a thought as to the tragic implications for certain individuals. I don't care if it's legal or not - it is WRONG.

Shut it down. What ever happened to "he who casts the first stone . . . "

Shut it down.

Erin
May. 18, 2000, 12:44 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by horsluvr:
I believe that the GUILTY party "ruined" their OWN life. They should have considered the reprocussions of their actions BEFORE they DID them. What is with society today?? We bend over backward to protect the guilty! What about the many victims and potential victims out there? The rate of recidivism for a crime of this nature is extremely high. Anytime you want to take your head out of the sand? It will NOT go away by ignoring it.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Do you know that an 18-year-old boy who has consensual sex with his 17-year-old girlfriend could be charged and convicted as a sex offender? If that were you, would you want that information broadcast for the world to see, to be branded as a child molester, and to be told that it's your own fault and that you should accept the repercussions of your actions??!

I find it incredible that people here are so anxious to condemn without the tiniest notion of what the facts are. Do you honestly think that if anyone here knew of an actual child molester wandering around horse shows looking for prey, that person would be "protected"? Well, sadly, the issue is not that clear. There are many shades of gray.

CAH
May. 18, 2000, 01:07 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by goodmudder:
... I implore you to shut down and delete this topic as long as it contains clearly stated or implied personal attacks. No good can come of it.

I would guess that 99% of us have absolutely no first-hand knowledge of alleged OR "legally factual" incidents, and have no right to comment on them without a thought as to the tragic implications for certain individuals. I don't care if it's legal or not - it is WRONG.

Shut it down. What ever happened to "he who casts the first stone . . . "

Shut it down.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I have been watching this thread all along. There have been several informative posts about the legal system. But I agree with the above statement. So before this thread is closed, let me add the following -
Professionally, I have worked MANY years with young/teenage children (boys and girls) who have been victimized many ways. Parents, please listen to the following tips...
1) This issue transcends all sports and opportunities where there are adults & children. Offenders can be the local baseball coach, teacher, clergy, next door neighbor, family member. There are signs to watch out for - EDUCATE yourselves!!
2) I have seen the effects of adults WRONGLY accused by young people and how it can destroy their careers and families.
3) Parents...talk to your kids!!!!Know what they are doing. Who are they talking to online? Who are their friends? Don't drop them off at a sporting activity (or barn) for HOURS at a time unless YOU are completely comfortable.
4) Kids...there is always someone out there that cares and WILL help. If you are in a situation and want help, find an adult whom you trust and PLEASE talk to them.

Enough is enough. I too think this topic has crossed the line from sharing information to gossiping about people.

[This message has been edited by CAH (edited 05-18-2000).]

CTT
May. 18, 2000, 01:12 PM
Im thinking of starting this up as a second thread but before I do I want to lay down some lines and see who can abide by them. So from this point on you are being teasted. As you know I do not tolerate many things on this type of leval. This was not started to point the finger it was started so that we can talk about his issue in a manerly way. we were able to talk about the weight thread in a very manerly way and when I restarted the Abuse thread we were able to conduct in again a manerly way. as soon s this thread hit around 65 posts I will then evaluate if I want to start it.

These are rules i expect that will be followed on the rest of this thread.

1) Any links that point to an individual person will not be tolerated.

2)Any clues to a person will not be tolerated.

3)links to helpfull sights will be alowed.

4) rude and uncalled for language will be in no way tolerated.

5) Storys and well thought out opinions are welcomed.

I waant us to be able to enjoy these discusions but some of the info and some of the posts have indead put a sower prick in my mouth.

I know I am liked here but unless we can act our age and conduct ourselves in a fair maner when we do talk i will then pack my bags and moove to a new home. I very much so like it here but what are we saying to the new people. that its ok to turn this into a name boiling gossip pot. I very much so dislike this type of conduct thats why I came here because i wanted stimulated talk. If i wanted gosip or names I would go some place else but thats not what i or any of the other members want. Please don't diapoint me and force me to leave. but all of the gossip I have seen over the past week or so is apauling. It discusts me and for contributing to such rubish is unexceptable. What if any one here was being talked about on another board. How would that make us feel that our lives were becomeing public. Its an invaision of privacy. If we want to protect our children lets put our energy on that instead of continuously talking on one person. Im sitting here tinging what has all of my and weatherfords and lauras work been for. Has it realy come down to this. Has all we worked for for NOTHING? We pour our hearts out into what we work for but If this is to become a personal bashing thing I want nothing to do with it. I will continue my work but instead of it being for all of us it will be for the ones who apreciate what i stand for. Its your decision do we want to work as a team or not?

Louise
May. 18, 2000, 01:19 PM
Thank you Goodmudder, I don't know how it could be said better.

We are getting nothing constructive done on this thread. Instead of finger pointing at one particular case - OF WHICH WE DO NOT KNOW ALL THE FACTS - we need to discuss ways that parents can be better educated so that they can protect their own children. This probably should be done on a local basis. There is no need for the entire internet world to know these facts.

Come on folks, what about Laura's PTA idea? Does it have merit? How could something like that be implemented? Should it be started on a local level? Does it need to go national at a later time?

I know one thing, in this age where people move from place to place many times in their lives, and, if I had kids, I would love to be able to go to a local parents equine organization for help, not necessarily to know only what kinds of people that there may be around the area, but in chosing the correct barn and instructor, facilitating showing, etc.

We have so many truly creative minds on this forum. So, let's create, not destroy!

MBS
May. 18, 2000, 01:22 PM
Erin if you have read my posts you KNOW I have not said anything about this incident directly but PLEASE don't compare this incident to that of a 18 and 16 year old. I have edited it because I do not want to give any more information that I have obtained with out hearing the whole story. But this is nothing like the type of incident you compared it with.

[This message has been edited by MB Stark (edited 05-18-2000).]

Flash44
May. 18, 2000, 01:23 PM
These bulletin boards are read by many people who don't necessarily post. I go to several racing boards as well, and several weeks ago, we adopted the nickname Fu Peg for the Derby winner, Fusaichi Pegasus. This nickname appeared in a column in the Baltimore Sun this morning. Information on the world wide web spread faster than the flu in New York City. You must be sure of your facts and be able to find proof before you post something that could possibly cause damage to another.

This is such an important topic, but you have to exercise care when dealing with people's lives.

Colin
May. 18, 2000, 01:43 PM
I must support Louise on this one. I feel that this entire thread has gotten totally out of control. Yes, sexual abuse is something very terrible, and it can be found in the horse show world, just as it can be found in our schools, churches, etc. In my opinion, it's time for this topic to rest.

CTT
May. 18, 2000, 01:50 PM
Lets get constructive. I was thinking as I make my jurnie back eas this summer to sit down with weatherford (well Ill be staying with her) but I want to try to get some us us together so that we can talk face to face. I encurage any of you who want to do some real work to join. Even if you can't sit with us we do and can comunicate. I want to take all of our ideas and put them into a pot so that it can start to boil. I very much so like the idea of a equine PTA. It is so important to not just educate the children but the parents. I see such a lack of comunication between parents and children and trainers. Its important for us to partner up and become more active in the lives of our future. All groups start like this a fue people that have concerns and would like to do something about it. we have so many grate ideas. some of the thing I have been thinking about as I sit and watch tv as I try to fall asleep is maby a Websight that offers parent advice and help makeing it multi funtional so that we can productivly comunicate. Also I encurage a equine parents association. I feel that these aids will better everyone. Our main concern should be to educate and also to give the helping hand to victams of any sort. Look how long madd has been around and look how now they have so much say in so many issues. We nead to start something so that we can have that power. It a very dangerous tool we have here its called our minds. If we can productively put them together we can acheave anything. I encurage everyone who has the big enough dedacation and desire to join us face to face so that we can talk about this. we can only say so much here. Thats why I was encurageing people to use ICQ so that we can chat in real life and be able to better comunicate. We nead to stop the gosip and get real on how we can do something and make it real. We nead all the people we can get. so how about it put down your bats and lets get the real issues roling and the real ideas roling so that we can adress them.

Portia
May. 18, 2000, 02:03 PM
CAH -- Thank you. I strongly believe that is the kind of useful information Weatherford wanted to have us share by starting this thread, as CTT, Laura, and others have also done. I applaud all of you for doing so, in addition to those who are seeking and evaluating facts before acting in so public a way. Flash is right about how fast information on the internet can spread, for good and for bad. It's a new world, and we have to learn to live in it and be good neighbors on a global scale.

Oh and Flash, Fu Peg -- I like it! Just so long as no one makes a mistake and starts calling him FUBAR. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

[This message has been edited by Portia (edited 05-18-2000).]

laura
May. 18, 2000, 02:21 PM
Go back and read my post from what the Violence Against Women Office recommends for sports organizations to do. Check out the web site. Distribution of educational material at shows? Maybe an educational insert in prize lists? Could we get our top riders to endorse a program of some sort and act as spokespeople? This doesnt have to be limited to just sexual abuse, it could encompass drug abuse and eating disorders too? How would this be organized? Would it be taking on too much to try to do this nationally? We need to get ideas rolling here. There are alot of other groups that have tackled similar issues in the past and there is info and ideas out there-just need to do a little digging.

Now, the disciplinary policies part of it is a bit trickier and I really hesitate to bring up that topic here-I dont want to see this thread closed! I'm going to do some research into what other sports organizations have for policies on this - and please tread VERY CAREFULLY because as Erin said there are many shades of grey!

CTT, you have great ideas, and I am definitely in. Lets get together and accomplish something, any other takers?

HAC
May. 18, 2000, 02:27 PM
I'd like to share a story with you all. When I lived on Long Island I kept my horse at my trainers house(she was engaged to a younger man). It was very small I think there was only 3 Boarders tops. My best friend and I spent hours at her barn with no parental supervision, our parents would drop us off in the mornings and pick us up late in the evenings, sometimes we spent the night. Our parents rarely went to horse shows and basically just paid the board at the end of the month. I moved out of the state, but my friend stayed at the farm and of course we stayed in touch. 2 or 3 yrs. later I found that my friend was sleeping with the trainer's now husband and they had packed up the horses and left the trainer. My friend continued to see this man for another 4 yrs. and her parents appeared to accept this situation. The concern I had was that this relationship robbed her of her teenage years, I mean who can take their 28 year old boyfriend to prom?Just some food for thought.

CTT
May. 18, 2000, 02:34 PM
Ok for thoes who want to get face to face on this topic I will be at two places while Im up there. I encurage anyone and everyone to drive or fly to either of these events so that we can get down to business. I promis you It will be worthe it. I do not disapoint people if they make the effort to give me there time. If any of you want to catch up with me I will be at the festival of champions. I will be ariveing in on the 20th of june. I will also be at lake placid till the 3rd of july. any one who will be at these events pleas contact me. even if you are not going I encurage you to go to the festival. Come and suport our team and give them the encurage ment that is neaded. try to make an efort even if it is for a day.

AKDragooPhoto
May. 18, 2000, 03:05 PM
I think parents should be informed of these people, definitely. But not the whole world. The information is out there for other people to find if they want it.But I don't need to know... it doesn't affect me, nor does it affect 95% of the people here. If you want my honest opinion, I think the desire to share names has a lot to do with the gossipy nature of the horse world. -- Erin

I agree with your point about the gossipy nature of the industry, but I do have to argue with your point about not needing to know.

I think that if someone is convicted of a sexual offense involving a minor the more people that have contact with that person are informed the better.

It is the nature of this industry not to have constant contact with your child. I would want as many people as possible being atuned to the offenders actions as possible. Knowing that the person has a record I would hope would keep people alert to any inappropriate actions.

(This has not come out as eloquently as I had intended. Hopefully I will not be misunderstood.)

Snowbird
May. 18, 2000, 03:30 PM
What I have gleaned from this dialog is that this is the 2nd thread which proves to me that something is definitely changed in the world today.

My generation knew that not only were we responsible for ourselves but for the whole family. Everyone who lives long enough has the opportunity to make choices. What stops them them from making a wrong decision? It is the repercussions within their world. A mother who is heart broken at the error of your ways, a brother who is embarrassed, or a son who maybe won't be able to run for president because the news will get out.

Yes, in the best of all worlds there would be no mistakes made by the justice system. It's not perfect but it is the best we have to live with. Yes, people do have the right to be re-habilitated. That's my point. If you can't identify and publicize the person who you believe is a culprit then what point is there to sully the reputation of the whole sport by projecting an image that horse shows are loaded with pedophiles and larcenists.

Again the issue! please not the people who may or may not be guilty of anything. There are always excuses, there are always alibis and there will always be the truth. Parents need to protect their children, that is their job. We do not have the right to create a fool proof environment which eliminates people just because we are afraid! We do have the right to be aware of what our children are doing and not give up that responsibility to anyone else.

It is true that if you must trust your trainer of whatever sex or sexual orientation with your life when you compete over fences especially, then that trust spills over. We should not destroy the trust between the trainer and the rider because of fear. I loved my pediatrician I trusted him with the lives of my children therefore he was the 2nd most important man in my life. But, he understood that kind of adulation and didn't take advantage of it. Yes, the parents should be there and the doors should be open and that's my point we can't be responsible for your children, they are your responsibility.

N&B&T
May. 18, 2000, 03:30 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Colin:
I must support Louise on this one. I feel that this entire thread has gotten totally out of control. Yes, sexual abuse is something very terrible, and it can be found in the horse show world, just as it can be found in our schools, churches, etc. In my opinion, it's time for this topic to rest.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

With respect, Colin, IMO, it's not this topic, which in fact should not be ignored; rather, it is the manner in which and the care with which we discuss the topic that needs to be addressed--and is being addressed--at this point.

The issue of sexual abuse, as well as other issues (whether to do with people or with horses) equally difficult to confront, in the equestrian community and in the wider world, will not just go away by themselves. You are fortunate if none of them impinge on your life, but others are not so fortunate. These discussions have real potential to aid the latter, as well as to prevent much future distress for those who may encounter them if they continue.

It is too late to turn back the clock and "unbroach" all the very serious and emotionally-charged topics that have been posted on this board over the last months. In addition, the internet with its amazing possibilities for better or worse is here to stay.

Since these kinds of issues are now being openly discussed, we are at a crux. What happens in the future is very much in our hands. If we exercise those qualities we call for in others, we have the means to do quite a lot of good. If we are careless, we have the means to do quite a lot of harm.

Maybe it's taken this thread to truly get everyone to realize that we are not "speaking" to a group of friends in our living room or barn aisle (not that some of this belongs there, either!). We are creating a written record, about real people, and real problems, with real implications, in a public forum accessible to everyone in the world with access to a modem.

We cannot be so irresponsible as to undo the bravery of those who have posted some very difficult personal experiences, because we will then have crippled their efforts to redeem those experiences and to help others effectively deal with or avoid similar tragedies.

Maria
May. 18, 2000, 03:49 PM
I am a sexual abuse survivor.

Per statistics of several years ago, 3 out of every 4 woman and 6 out of every 7 men have been sexually abused. That means the majority of us have been there and know exactly what effects this has on ones future. Dismal.

I don't feel this thread should be shut down. We should stand up and not accept this behavior to be just swept under the carpet. If for nothing else, our children's future.

I'm not saying go out and list every Tom Dick and Harry, but accknowledge that a problem exists.

I realize it is a scary topic, but look at it this way. Sexual abuse is scary when it is happening, it is scary to face and realize the problems it has created in your personal life and it is scary to face and undo those problems. And it is EVEN more scary to realize at some point in their life it may happen to your child. If I can prevent this from happening to my child, I will do that with all my being. And if I can't prevent it, then I will be there for my child every step of the way, because I know what my child will have to face. And then, child molester, watch out.

oxer
May. 18, 2000, 04:54 PM
someone mentioned in a post about those "new to the site" well i am new, and i fully expected to be reading a hunter jumper site and what an unpleasant surprise to see you all bickering online. there appears to be about 4 of you posting back and forth trying to convince each other (unsuccesfully) of your own personal views. why waste the entire site for those of us simply not interested in joining this emotional diatribe and have a conference call or dinner together. it doesn't appear to me that anyone has "won" over anyone else and the remainder of us have to scroll down through post after post of the same people rehashing the same "stuff" over and over. get together you guys and let the rest of us move on. no one is winning this. or, for goodness sake shut it down if you have to, to put an end to it. as for the topic...
there's a saying that goes..."don't start anything you can't finish"

Snowbird
May. 18, 2000, 06:15 PM
Oxer I'm am sorry to say that it's not about winning! We're not trying to win anything but to preserve the opportunity to intelligently discuss any idea.

Dialogs like this are an opportunity for some to vent their personal feelings which is therapeutic for them. Some are here and are learning to see things from another perspective than their own.

Civilization is a term that describes how we affect each other. If we never spoke or met people who were different and had different ideas how would we grow as civilized people.

All of life is an experience for learning. If you cannot tolerate the dialog then you have the option not to click on the topic. This topic was not forced on you, you chose to read it. Maybe, you too will learn something about how other people think.

What a deary world if we just shut down everything we didn't agree with, or in which we were not interested. We can accomplish something if we make people aware
and the parents become more attentive to the experiences of their children. Is this not the problem being faced by the whole Internet? People trying to protect their children by creating a risk free environment rather than supervision and attention.

CTT
May. 18, 2000, 06:25 PM
Good point snowbird. Where would any of be with out these boards. I half to admit but in the past fue months I have become a diffrent person. Im stronger and not as timid as I use to. I chalenge myself now and express myself without limits. I have noticed a diffrence in the way i write and my style in which I write. all though my spelling isn't better i have become more alert and openminded. I fee there are many lessons that don't pretain exactly to this thread that we have learnd. Its not the actual content but its the limit and tolerence on issues. I can see so many lessons in this thread that i have benafited from. Its not just the exact stories but its the chalenge and questions that arise.

AMom
May. 18, 2000, 06:42 PM
Somewhere along the line I have missed the posts that named names or even gave strong hints because they were posted then deleted while I was offline. I have to say to those who are referring to the thread as "gossipy" that, as one who hasn't seen the progression of the thread, if you go back to the beginning of it and read through it right NOW, it would appear to be an emotional discussion about an emotional topic. Should it be shut down? Not in my opinion if it continues to read the way I have experienced it.

What have I learned from this thread? I have learned that just because MY experience at horse shows and around barns has been pretty darn good, there is a lot more to it than my experiences and, if I am ever a parent, I need to heed the advice of parents like Snowbird, et al and pay attention to the greatest extent possible of what is happening with my children.

oxer
May. 18, 2000, 08:32 PM
thank you sirtalis. i too, join you and will henceforth stop "clicking"
but i would like to respond to snowbird, not on the absurd diabribe but what she refers to as the opportunity to vent for theraputic reasons. therapy and healing are based on trust. trust and respect must be "earned" for someone to be able to feel safe enough to vent and gain results. this would be impossible on an open forum. trust? who? who is out there reading? councelling, self-help groups, therapy groups--all these promote trust among members who then feel free to discuss their issues and heal. this is not "healing" but resentment and anger.

CTT
May. 18, 2000, 09:03 PM
HMM..... well my answer for that is many of us have been friends either in person or corasponance. I for one feel at home here. yes others do read out vents but when writing i myself write for my friends. I write to a spasicic audiance. I realy don't think about the other people reading just the ones who i concern myself with. I for one feel more relaxed here than at xchool or at the bare. See Im still anonomous to many so for all they know Im a tom dick or hary yet they don't know me face to face. thats why its so easy cause we pose most of us behind a name that is a symbol. So ask yourself why you came here and posted if you want nothing to do with us.

Weatherford
May. 18, 2000, 10:52 PM
This was not to be a witch hunt. I am afraid for girls like those in the article below - which started this whole discussion - and the generations (!) of girls before these who were afraid to act. And all the other girls (young women) and boys who find themselves in the same position. (Like JaneDoe who posted on the Drugs & alcohol thread)

Those of you who want to witch hunt, I would appreciate it if you go elsewhere. Those of you who are not posting useful information, that is, you are complaining that I, as a moderator, would start such a horrid topic, I'd appreciate it if you would delete your own posts. Let's get down to business - and do what Laura & CTT have suggested - act together for the good of the community.

I've been blasted for starting this thread from all sides - but I want my friends to know where I was coming from. This is where it started. I have deleted the person's name for the sake of the continuity of this board. Anyone who would like a copy of the article in full can email me. (I have permission to distribute it avvordingly.)

Read it and weep.

--------- Forwarded message ----------
(Horse News is a subsidiary of the Hunterdon County Democrat - Flemington, NJ)


Grand Jury To Hear Charge Of Molestations By Trainer

MORRISTOWN <Name>, a riding instructor and trainer based in <town>, N.Y. who frequently brings students to shows in New Jersey, is charged with sexually assaulting three girls he taught.

The case is being prepared to go to the grand jury, said Morris County Assistant Prosecutor Leslie Wade. Mr. Wade, who works in the county's Child Abuse Sex Crimes unit, could not say what date the charges would be heard.

``But I hope it's sooner than later,'' he said.

In the meantime, <NAME> is free on $125,000 bail, but must report to the probation officer in Morris County every week, said Mr. Wade. The <**> national who trains jumpers can have no contact with the alleged victims, Mr. Wade continued. Nor is he allowed unsupervised contact with anyone under 18, Mr. Wade said.

<Name> 64, was arrested April 28 in Bloomingdale and charged with second degree aggravated criminal sexual assault, two first-degree counts of endangering the welfare of two minors and two counts of sexual assault. He was taken to Morris County jail where he was held until he raised bail. His lawyer, <lawyer's name>, successfully persuaded a Superior Court judge to lower the amount from $250,000 to $125,000.

The alleged acts occurred between January 1996 and December 1997 at ... a Morris County stable where <name> a freelance trainer, occasionally gave private riding lessons.

Police said the victims were 13 and 16 at the time they allegedly were molested. The two younger girls said they were the victims of sexual fondling and digital penetration. The older girl told police she had inter-course with him at a motel.

The girls, ... did not come forward immediately with their allegations because they said <name> told them they would not be able to ride the horses anymore if they spoke up, said Sgt. Stephen P. Foley, a spokesperson for the Morris County Prosecutors Office.

Horse News
June 1998

Colin
May. 18, 2000, 11:01 PM
Weatherford -- Your intentions were all VERY VERY good. I realize that. And it is not your fault that this thread has taken off the way it has. Unfortunately, there are too many people in the horse world that enjoy slandering individuals. Regardless of the facts, this forum, which you created in good faith, was not meant for that. However, you have no control of how individuals on this forum interpret and respond to the topic. And, there are obviously some "issues" with naming individuals and specific instances.

Although your intentions were quite proper and acceptable, if I were you I would delete this thread due to "circumstances beyond your control". i.e., I don't think that the members of this board are capable of tackling such a topic in an appropriate manner. Maybe this issue is something to take up on a personal basis, such as CTT suggested?

Anyway, for what it's worth, these are just my own thoughts and opinions on the matter. Thank you, Weatherford, for your intentions. I am only sorry that your thread has come to this.

Betsy.

Snowbird
May. 19, 2000, 12:36 AM
OH! Please just stop it, are you saying that if we can't mention names we can't discuss an important issue like this. Children have been without any civil rights since the beginning of time when they were born as the "property" of their parents.

I doubt there is a single girl out here that hasn't had to cope with sexual harrassment. We certainly, can discuss it, and we can find ways to avoid it, and we can find find ways to warn other girls who still have the chance what to watch out for, and we can talk about what is and is not acceptable behavior.

This thread should not be deleted it shows just how difficult this problem is, it shows just how ill-informed we all are, it shows how those who are role models and authority figures can use that position to invade the lives of the children. We have teachers have sex with their students who simply want a good grade, we have priests using their cloak to hide their perversion it is time to expose it to the sunlight so that like little maggots they will find dark holes to hide in and leave us alone to enjoy life.

farmgate
May. 19, 2000, 12:46 AM
I have to add my two cents here. This is a serious topic and not a pretty one. It is also a VERY important and real one. For those of "moral superiority" who think to contribute here is "slanderous" or "gossipy", may you take your Mary Poppins attitudes and remain in blissful denial. You should also hope though, that someone else will alert your young daughter, kid sister, or best friend, to the, all too real dangers in blind trust of your fellow man.

Over the years, I can say, my students have always known my respect of them and their privacy. Along with discretion, a non-judgemental attitude is needed, when it comes to providing a sounding board for these personal and dark recollections. On average, I've been asked to serve as counsel and advisor to issues of this nature, to 30 per cent of my female students and/or their friends. I have been privy to testamonies ranging from inappropriate advances by an older male trainer to rape at home by a secret stalker. Another trainer's 13 year old ran horrified into my tack stall after a "strange man" approached her at the wash rack at a show.
A stranger is always suspect but of all the potentially dangerous characters out there, the most dangerous is the one who is known, trusted, and admired. It goes against the grain of a "good girl" to become outraged when advances of a "confusing" nature are presented to her by such a person, especially if he is older. This, in itself, is his biggest advantage.
I am not advocating a state of constant paranoia but to those of you who have yet to be touched by this nightmare, don't think it only happens to someone else.
This is a much needed thread, thanks Weatherford.

Colin
May. 19, 2000, 10:20 AM
Woodbern - All I was saying is that it has become quite obvious that SOME members of this BB have NOT played by the rules, which Erin and Weatherford have requested. Instead, they have named names (those posts have been deleted, but were still seen by many), and made suggestions toward certain individuals.

Yes, it is a touchy subject, and Yes, I feel it is important to be discussed, as Snowbird has stated. However, I feel it should be discussed in a more open manner, (example, Weatherford and Snowbird's posts).

Queen??? That's pretty cool. Never thought of myself that way before. I actually thought my post was quite polite, and as I stated, I was only expressing my personal opinion.

Flash44
May. 19, 2000, 10:33 AM
There is no reason to delete this thread as long as the topic is discussed sensibly. Weatherford gave a great example with her copy of a published article. Instead of pointing fingers and passing along rumors with no documented basis, why don't we discuss how to educate our children about sexual abuse and how we can BEST PREVENT our children from having to deal with that situation in the first place.

- don't let your children go overnight without a PROPER chaperone (a parent!)

-get together with several other parents from the barn and try to work out a schedule where one of you can be at the barn, or drop in, when the children are there for long periods of time. Trainers are NOT BABYSITTERS, and you can't expect that they will be nearby if your child should get hurt at the barn.

-we have become too trusting. Year ago, it would have been scandalous to have a young lady left unsupervised with a man, married or not.

horsluvr
May. 19, 2000, 12:11 PM
I appologize in advance for my ignorance. I realize that I am NOT capable of handling a serious topic so I will no longer contribute. The moral (and ethical) superiority displayed by the few, have (once again) spoiled it for the many. I also ned to say that the truth sometimes hurts. Whatever I posted, was TRUTH, NOT gossip...even though alot was simply "edited" out. Thank you moderators for saving me from the error of my ways and showing me that topics like hunt coat materials and ear plugs are WAY more substantive than issues that might affect the well being and welfare of our children. Mea Culpa.

wileycoyote
May. 19, 2000, 11:59 PM
Well, I haven't written anything for a long while, at least since the George Morris fiasco in Florida, but I felt that this needed my input because this is something that hits very close to home.
Not only did I have 2 daughters on the circuit in the past who were subjected to "sexual assault" of one kind or another but also a son who was harrassed as well.

Just last year, I had a mother of a student who had gone away to school, call me and ask about a particular trainer for a private high school. I did not know this man, nor anything about him, reputation or otherwise. So I emailed several acquaintances in the area about his reputation. I was told that "he liked the girls" and would woo them into either showing with his barn all year (and I might ad paying quite a price for this) or woo them into buying one of the horses he was trying to sell.
Ironically this young 16-year-old girl was going through a major case of hero-worship and it was necessary for the mother to make sure she could distance her daughter from this man before something disastrous happened.
So many times, we see the stars of the industry as the gods to look up to and with that comes acceptance of whatever they wish us to do, be it sex, horse abuse, or subterfuge.
I definitely feel that if a trainer and/or rider is a public figure and is someone that warrants professional admiration on the part of students, etc. and if they have a penchant for young girls or young boys that unsuspecting parents should be informed.

showrider
May. 20, 2000, 09:38 AM
Like I have said before, there are warning signs. You just need to actually LOOK at them. They may seem like nothing at the time, but they are there. Everyone keeps saying to talk to our kids. One must remember, that they may HEAR us, but when it actually happens to a child that THINKS it will never happen to them, they are MORTIFIED. 9 out of 10 times, they are led to believe that they did something to cause this to happen to them. The trainer might tell them that they aren't doing well enough in the shows, and that they need to do better. On the other hand, they might threaten to sell the horse/pony in they tell ANYONE. They may go as far as bringing in a friend and have someone riding the horse/pony in front of the kid, giving the appearence of someone looking to buy it. It's been know to happen, and be very effective.

Now you tell me, if you were 9,10,11,12, or any age, if someone you have grown to trust does that to you, wouldn't you think that YOU did something wrong? That's why it is so hard to actually get theses people to come forward with the complaint. Most feel comfortable only AFTER someone else gets the ball rolling.

Snowbird
May. 20, 2000, 03:18 PM
OK! on the nhja site I'm thinking about doing a "parents page". This could be printed out an circulated if anyone wanted to do it.

I think we could all exchange stories because I think almost every child of whatever sex has been exposed to the problem. We also recognize the position they are put in when they want to excell. AND, it's not just this sport but everywhere that there are children.

SO! my question is can we come up with a page of warning signs for parents? Can we come up with a page that would be able to be given to the child? It needs to tell them them that a "teacher" does not have the option to touch inappropriately.

I remember riding on a subway in New York and a flasher sat next to me. He was doing his thing hiding behind a newspaper and I grabbed his newspaper and ran like hell and got off the subway, to take another train. I always wondered what happened when he was seen sitting exposed to the world.

Can we as intelligent and thinking people make use of this marvelous democratic media to create such a page? Let's explore the idea.

oxer
May. 20, 2000, 03:32 PM
a good resource is your childrens'schools, most if not all school systems have programs they start at a very young age to inform the children of these issues. there are also multiple websites for the kids online and the parents resources. all the parent/children/teacher websites are very informational. even oprahs' site used to have information to connect to these. they might be useful for inclusion on your sites as another resource.

Snowbird
May. 20, 2000, 04:39 PM
Oxer, that's a really good lead. But, time is of the essence for all of us I suspect. I would appreciate a volunteer who would check out these sites and come back with what was most useful for our page. I think if we divided this up with wonderful volunteers we could be helpful.

Regalmeans
May. 20, 2000, 04:44 PM
Snowbird thats a really good USEFUL idea - I think like what Weatherford wanted to come out of this thread. Such a page would be an excellent resource!

S.

jch
May. 20, 2000, 08:14 PM
The biggest danger with any kind of list is that it can lull people into a false sense of security, "So and So isn't on the list so they are okay". Parents have to be around. Pop in to lessons when you aren't expected. Don't drop off your child "for the day" - stop in, you can come up with a reason if you worry about offending someone (but no one should be offended). Come to the show and see what is going on. Talk to your child. Don't depend on a magic list, there is no such thing.

CTT
May. 20, 2000, 09:21 PM
A list of sighns for parents to look for in there children por posable problems is a bust and I would love to contribute as much as I can to your isdea snowbird so chuck some stuff my way. but also I feel that the parents and children nead to help bevelope a list of ways to tell if this trainer is good for you type list. A list for parents to take with them when going to the barn to rate the trainers attitude and body language.

Alist like so. (add more to this)

First moment you make actual contact what vibes does this trainer make you feel?
Do you feel comfortable or uncomfortable?

While the trainer is conversing with other students what things and type of body language do they use?

Is there un nessacary touching?

When conversing do you feel the trainer is giveing you there full attention?

Is proper eye contact made? when looking at the eyecontact what how do you feel?

How is the enviorment with in the barn?

Ask the trainer these following qiestions

what are your views on trainer student relationship?
do you feel you are fare twards the way you speek to the students?
what are your views and dislikes that other trainers do within the show atmosphere?


I know these questions are not grate but lets revise them and add to them to make a list to help parents find the trainer they nead fot there children.

Finzean
May. 20, 2000, 10:33 PM
If I were sending one of my kids to a new trainer, camp, or whatever, I would be sure to ask for references. Sure, people can always find someone to say nice things about them, but if you listen really hard and keep your eyes open, you'll most likely find out what you need to know. I've done background checks on my own many times for job applicants, adoption applicants for homeless pets (sounds goofy I know but I am neurotic about sending pets into appropriate homes), and trainers for myself - I have always been able to ferret out the information I needed without smearing anyone's name. If I asked a trainer for references and he/she couldn't give me several, I'd be concerned. I'd also ask around to see what other parents with kids that rode thought about different trainers. This can be done in a non gossipy way...ie Susie wants to take riding lessons, I know your daughter rides, what stables can you recommend? I know of several parents who would be a lot better off if they had only taken the time to do a reference check. Sounds simple, but it may be a very telling experience.

laura
May. 21, 2000, 02:36 AM
Snowbird, I think that's a great idea and I just wanted to let you know that I'll help any way I can. I've already done some research and found some good websites. I dont have time right now, but I'll try to put some stuff together for you, e-mail me if you want to try to coordinate.

Sirtalis
May. 22, 2000, 11:02 AM
Well, due to some e-mail I've received, I'm visiting this thread again to delete my posts. They are now out of context, as the posts to which I was referring were deleted. This thread reads very differently now as opposed to how it read on the 18th, and I'm glad. I know this is just my opinion, but naming names here is not constructive to the cause. If something like an "offender" list is to be successfully presented to the AHSA or the NHJC, it must be done collectively and without naming names. I think people within these organizations will listen more intently if it is presented as a cause. They will tend to not listen if names are mentioned right off the bat. The names can be mentioned under the law once a law is established. Right or wrong, when something can be measured in terms of the law, it has more credibility.

I am all for such legislation. I am not hiding behind a shroud of anonymity on this BB as someone suggested, and my e-mail is available on my profile (and some have used it - great, I welcome interaction).

I also did not come in the spirit of antagonism as the same person suggested. As I said, naming names at this point is not helping this cause as a whole.

We need to support those who feel they cannot report these abuses b/c of the fear of blackmail. This is definitely a widespread issue and affects all of us in some way. Perhaps a group within the AHSA could be established to receive abuse complaints, and somehow provide a counseling network, perhaps with the red cross. Ultimately, these horrible incidents need to be reported, though. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I am glad people are getting together on this. I had been worried and dismayed that names were mentioned early on, and having been involved in rape issues in the past, I know that's not the way to accomplish what needs to be accomplished here. Unfortunately, this is bigger than a certain name, this appears to be prevalent everywhere, so let's present this as a big problem that can potentially affect all of us, not just a few people.

I like what I see happening here, e-mail me if I can help. Thank you.

[This message has been edited by Sirtalis (edited 05-22-2000).]

[This message has been edited by Sirtalis (edited 05-22-2000).]

Weatherford
Jun. 2, 2000, 02:15 PM
I just re-read Janedoe's comment on one of the Drugs&Alcohol threads and realized that this topic should not die. I am re-posting it here where it belongs:

"Well, I have not posted in awhile but I would like to share a story with you that deals directly with the horse world and this topic.
Now, as I am closer to my mid-twenties I look back and realize why I feel so much older than that. As a kid I always rode locally and had a great time with my friends and family. As I started to improve my parents and I decided that I could go to a 'better trainer.' So, in order to go to the person that was referred to me by my friends I had to move about two hours away. So, off I went with my two horses and moved to an apartment by myself. I was very excited because I felt like I would really improve. Well my riding did but that's about it. My trainer at the time, who was in his fifties decided to prey on all of the girls there. I was 18 at the time but I came from a rather small town and really hadn't ever done much partying or drinking or anything else. Well, my trainer got so bad that I was afraid to ever be alone with him because I was so frightened. Of course he would mess with us mentally but telling us how much better we could be, how many great horses he would let me ride, etc. Well, he talked my parents into buying a few horses and also into he and I taking a trip across country to try some. It just so happened to be on a weekend that my mother couldn't go with me. I was petrified but I was too embarrassed or afraid to tell anyone. So, I ended up going to Chicago and the first night we were there he raped me in my hotel room. I was scared out of my mind but I was mostly afraid of him. He told me I couldn't tell anyone, he told me that I really wanted to do it, etc. Well, I didn't know how to get out of the situation but I just kept it to myself. I stayed there and he approached me daily, he would drive to my apartment, corner me in the tack room or follow me in my car. After my parents eventually found out that he had ripped them off for a lot of money I decided to leave. I went away with my horses but still never told a soul. I just figured he was right and that no one else would believe me. After that I dated the biggest losers and really lost all self-esteem that I had. I moved to another male trainer and he was very forceful and flirty and filthy. I eventually got away from it but it took me awhile to realize that it wasn't my fault. Just recently I finally told a girl who rode there too and she said he tried to do the same to her. She had always wondered why I just kind of left and why I despise him so much. I know this is disturbing and it is awkward to write about over the computer but I really hope this helps just one person realize that they're not alone. I definitely don't want to have a pity party here but I feel obligated to share this with you. I think this happens in the horse world more than we can even imagine. So many of the male trainers, married or single,prey on young girls. Both trainers I had knew just which buttons to push and to use the love of my life (horses)- to accomplish their sick and demented goals. Both trainers are alcoholics who have always cheated on their girlfriends, or wives. They continue to dominate other women and feel that it is their right to do so. I still compete very heavily but I keep my distance from most others at the show. I watch it, I see girls who are anorexic, I see others with their fake IDs, partying with their trainers at night clubs. I know plenty who mess with serious drugs and alcohol. I know so many young girls who are quite sexually active and the straight men at the shows use their naivity to their benefit. They try to find the most innocent girl and they corrupt them. Then, by the time they are 30 you'd think they were 50. It is so sad but I happens so much, especially on the big 'circuit.' I just with there were other ways of letting these kids know what's out there and how dangerous this is. Just like convicted child molesters working at the shows. I think it's crazy how most trainers and riders make a big deal about someone using tack-boots or medicating their horses but they don't bat an eye when a 45 year old man is dating a 20year old. People didn't seem to care when a 27 year old rider was dating a 17 year old, isn't it illegal to have sex with a minor? This happens all of the time. There are so many corrupt individuals, not only professionally but morally as well. I am sorry to ramble on but this subject just really gets to me. Thank you for your time."

Thank you for yours, Janedoe.

[This message has been edited by Weatherford (edited 06-02-2000).]

Snowbird
Jun. 2, 2000, 02:32 PM
Weatherford, I agree with you because even before the horses is the care of the children. Celebrity has with it responsibilities as well as the bonus things. We have I am sure all known of "children" that were awed by a "VIP" and therefore were willing to do things otherwise unacceptable, and that many are in denial because they don't want to believe that an idol has clay feet.

Isn't this also the problem faced by parents today with the rock stars and athletes from lots of other sports who believe they are entitled to any reward for their celebrity status.

I do hope that this will result in a paper that all barns will include in their packets to parents and juniors.

Inverness
Jun. 6, 2000, 01:43 PM
Louise,

I agree wholeheartedly as both a concerned adult and as an attorney. This is not my area of expertise so I cannot offer any legal analysis or "advice" on the issue. I would, however, caution anyone contemplating the idea of publicly disclosing the identity of an alleged or suspected offender. The laws of libel and slander are alive and well in this country, and for good reason.

If you are seriously thinking about identifying individuals who have been accused or suspected of abuse, PLEASE SPEAK TO AN ATTORNEY BEFORE DOING SO. Do not compromise your own financial and emotional well-being by acting - however justified you feel - without being fully informed of all of the potential consequences of your actions. Do not allow your emotional response to a situation cause you to act contrary to your own best interests.