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Bob McDonald Banned from USEF through Safe Sport

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    Originally posted by OverandOnward View Post


    I'd like to say that maybe a change in attitudes generally could help, but knowing how resistant the equestrians can be to acknowledging stains on their heroes, it's an uphill road. Maybe SS could even share what they have learned that could have made a difference much earlier in these terrible sagas.
    I think SS is trying very much to make it clear that everyone in the community being a witness and reporting concerns is the only way this works.

    And that "mandatory reporter" aspect is one that so so so many anti safe sporters hit on: they dont care and they dont want to be told to care about any abuses that they might happen to witness. But like, it's not because they're awful human beings, no! it's just that this is their hobby
    Let me apologize in advance.

    Comment


      Originally posted by ladyj79 View Post

      I think SS is trying very much to make it clear that everyone in the community being a witness and reporting concerns is the only way this works.
      ........
      Report to who?

      And report what? Sometimes the red flags come from unspecific behavior. A predator will rarely be careless enough to let anyone else see very much. What behavior exactly will this unnamed agency be willing to follow up on?

      Rhetorical questions, but still.

      Something I was reading recently brought back vividly to mind a memory of some odd behavior I witnessed many, many years ago, between a man who appeared to be in his 30's, and a girl that I would have guessed at about 7 years old. Something made me think they were not father and daughter, or any type of relatives. Their physical closeness, and the nature of it, would have been odd for a relative or a non-relative. At the time I would have loved to have asked someone to take a knowledgeable second look, but .... who?

      Often the only thing giving observers the heebie-jeebies are things not specific enough for LE to action. I would really like to know how experts would suggest addressing such things. "It might be nothing" seems to be a top reason for non-reporting, and another top reason is not knowing who to report to, or what to say.

      Comment


        Originally posted by OverandOnward View Post

        Report to who?

        And report what? Sometimes the red flags come from unspecific behavior. A predator will rarely be careless enough to let anyone else see very much. What behavior exactly will this unnamed agency be willing to follow up on?

        Rhetorical questions, but still.

        Something I was reading recently brought back vividly to mind a memory of some odd behavior I witnessed many, many years ago, between a man who appeared to be in his 30's, and a girl that I would have guessed at about 7 years old. Something made me think they were not father and daughter, or any type of relatives. Their physical closeness, and the nature of it, would have been odd for a relative or a non-relative. At the time I would have loved to have asked someone to take a knowledgeable second look, but .... who?

        Often the only thing giving observers the heebie-jeebies are things not specific enough for LE to action. I would really like to know how experts would suggest addressing such things. "It might be nothing" seems to be a top reason for non-reporting, and another top reason is not knowing who to report to, or what to say.
        No they're not really rhetorical questions totally valid questions.

        If you take safe sport, or you work in education and have taken training like safe schools, the training actually discusses warning signs of grooming, predation, etc, and also best practices for protecting athletes and yourself. and in the case of sports under safe sport, you would report to safe sport if it is not criminal but you see possible warning signs of grooming, etc.
        Let me apologize in advance.

        Comment


          OverandOnward good question! When it's just a general creepiness, what I've done is talk to the child. I let them know that I've had adults act inappropriately with me when I was young and I was very uncomfortable and scared and if anything like that is happening or ever happens to them, they can tell me and I will believe them.

          Comment


            In my own personal experience, knowing that someone is powerful and popular makes it difficult to report them (from a victim’s POV). On top of that, having people publicly denounce that it happened (even if nobody names names) and then having other powerful people try to undermine the very ones trying to help you out (SS)...this makes the victim not even want to tell in the first place. That’s why I get angry at RD. He is actively going after SS. Why? What is he afraid of? If he is so certain that SS has gone too far, then let the arbitration play out. If he’s right and they reverse the decision, then he will have strong evidence for his letter. This way if SS is right yet again, then RD and the others only bring suspicion upon themselves.
            Last edited by NotGrandPrixYet; Jun. 27, 2020, 11:46 AM.
            Banter whenever you want to banter....canter whenever you want to canter.

            Comment


              I’m going to say it again - if you haven’t done so already, watch Athlete A on Netflix. If you have a strong stomach, watch the Epstein documentary too, but Athlete A really brings I to sharp focus what happens when a sport enables and ignores the abuse of minors,

              Comment


                Originally posted by NotGrandPrixYet View Post
                In my own personal experience, knowing that some is powerful and popular makes it difficult to report them (from a victim’s POV). On top of that, having people publicly denounce that it happened (even if nobody names names) and then having other powerful people try to undermine the very ones trying to help you out (SS)...this makes the victim not even want to tell in the first place. That’s why I get angry at RD. He is actively going after SS. Why? What is he afraid of? If he is so certain that SS has gone too far, then let the arbitration play out. If he’s right and they reverse the decision, then he will have strong evidence for his letter. This way if SS is right yet again, the RD and the others only bring suspicion upon themselves.
                I missed the part in RD’s letter or recent post in which he asserted that the allegations against RM were false or that he expected the ban to be overturned in arbitration. Like all of us, I’m guessing he fully anticipates that the ban will be upheld.

                I’m not RD, not playing devil’s advocate for him, and not clicking like on his posts.

                In a month or two, when the ban is upheld, according to you RD will have brought suspicion of what, exactly, upon himself? That he, himself, is a child abuser?

                Suspicion that he is a “supporter of child abusers”? You’ve already condemned him of that.

                Everything is rhetorical, no need to reply.

                Comment


                  Originally posted by YankeeDuchess View Post

                  I missed the part in RD’s letter or recent post in which he asserted that the allegations against RM were false or that he expected the ban to be overturned in arbitration. Like all of us, I’m guessing he fully anticipates that the ban will be upheld.

                  I’m not RD, not playing devil’s advocate for him, and not clicking like on his posts.

                  In a month or two, when the ban is upheld, according to you RD will have brought suspicion of what, exactly, upon himself? That he, himself, is a child abuser?

                  Suspicion that he is a “supporter of child abusers”? You’ve already condemned him of that.

                  Everything is rhetorical, no need to reply.
                  You don’t get to do a drive by and then suggest that people not to reply.

                  Suspicion that he condones child abuse as long as it’s one of his BNT friends.

                  You are a big part of the contributing to the problem, whether you think so or not. But you will keep this going ad finitim, just banging away repeating, repeating , disputing, and twisting.

                  Twisting...in that I never said anywhere that RD said he wasn’t guilty. BUT implying that RM didn’t get a fair shake is, in fact, indicating that maybe he’s innocent. I don’t care if you think that’s a little jab at SS that means nothing (I forgot the exact words that you used, but something to the effect that RD knows that the arbitration will end up with the same result), the end result to the VICTIM is that it fosters doubt in the process and in the victim’s word.

                  How do you think a victim feels if the victim is reading this. More likely than not, a victim of RM’s has caught wind of this thread and is reading it. The victim (or victims) is not on here provoking people, threatening to sue, throwing out sarcastic retorts, etc.

                  Just.stop.it. Stop being a part of the problem.
                  Last edited by NotGrandPrixYet; Jun. 27, 2020, 04:59 PM.
                  Banter whenever you want to banter....canter whenever you want to canter.

                  Comment


                    Originally posted by OverandOnward View Post

                    Report to who?

                    And report what? Sometimes the red flags come from unspecific behavior. A predator will rarely be careless enough to let anyone else see very much. What behavior exactly will this unnamed agency be willing to follow up on?

                    Rhetorical questions, but still.

                    Something I was reading recently brought back vividly to mind a memory of some odd behavior I witnessed many, many years ago, between a man who appeared to be in his 30's, and a girl that I would have guessed at about 7 years old. Something made me think they were not father and daughter, or any type of relatives. Their physical closeness, and the nature of it, would have been odd for a relative or a non-relative. At the time I would have loved to have asked someone to take a knowledgeable second look, but .... who?

                    Often the only thing giving observers the heebie-jeebies are things not specific enough for LE to action. I would really like to know how experts would suggest addressing such things. "It might be nothing" seems to be a top reason for non-reporting, and another top reason is not knowing who to report to, or what to say.
                    My reply last night got caught in "unapproved" status. A second try:

                    Those are good questions and I bet you're not the only one who is wondering. This is tricky terrain.

                    For USEF members, reporting to Safe Sport and to your state's central child abuse/neglect reporting agency (if minors are involved -- listed on the SS website) should satisfy the reporting requirement for suspicions/evidence of sexual misconduct. You don't have to figure out what local social services or law enforcement are the appropriate authorities -- start by contacting Safe Sport.

                    You can also always reach out to RAINN if you are concerned about possible sexual abuse or misconduct and don't know what to do -- they offer confidential support for preventing/reporting/surviving sexual abuse and assault and I believe they have a SafeSport support line in addition to their general hotline. But you should be able to report suspicions of sexual misconduct in equestrian sports directly to Safe Sport even if you aren't 100% certain whether something nefarious is happening -- they can evaluate and decide how to proceed without you having to take full responsibility for calibrating the response. They have far more training than the average USEF member, so it's o.k. to expect them to take on the delicate task of deciding how to proceed when you're unsure. If you look at the two dozen entries on the USEF banned list, the lion's share of the bans are associated with criminal disposition -- in other words, they've got a pretty narrow focus on credible evidence of (child) sexual abuse and there doesn't seem to be any evidence that they're inclined to create mountains out of innocent molehills.

                    I understand why people are uneasy about having this new responsibility in their hobby! I had to have a conversation with a very young adult at work this spring that started with "you need to know that I'm a mandatory reporter". It's really stressful to get involved in a traumatic situation, especially when you have only a murky view of what is happening. The upside is that centralized reporting agencies (like SS) are there to share the burden with mandatory reporters, and that training all adults in the community to be aware and to report sexual misconduct should make abusive and exploitative situations less common over time.

                    Comment


                      Originally posted by NotGrandPrixYet View Post

                      You don’t get to do a drive by and then suggest that people not to reply.

                      ...

                      Just.stop.it. Stop being a part of the problem.
                      I don't think this message is getting through to that poster. Maybe video translation will help: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5zCbrcmuGM

                      Comment


                        Originally posted by NotGrandPrixYet View Post

                        You don’t get to do a drive by and then suggest that people not to reply.

                        Suspicion that he is condones child abuse as long as it’s one of his BNT friends.

                        You are a big part of the contributing to the problem, whether you think so or not. But you will keep this going ad finitim, just banging away repeating, repeating , disputing, and twisting.

                        Twisting...in that I never said anywhere that RD said he wasn’t guilty. BUT implying that RM didn’t get a fair shake is, in fact, indicating that maybe he’s innocent. I don’t care if you think that’s a little jab at SS that means nothing (I forgot the exact words that you used, but something to the effect that RD knows that the arbitration will end up with the same result), the end result to the VICTIM is that it fosters doubt in the process and in the victim’s word.

                        How do you think a victim feels if the victim is reading this. More likely than not, a victim of RM’s has caught wind of this thread and is reading it. The victim (or victims) is not on here provoking people, threatening to sue, throwing out sarcastic retorts, etc.

                        Just.stop.it. Stop being a part of the problem.
                        So if RM loses in arbitration (which everyone including probably RD thinks he will), you will then “suspect him of condoning child abuse”. But you already not only suspect him of condoning child abuse, but have outright condemned him for actively SUPPORTING child abusers. Suspecting him of condoning child abuse seems like a downgrading of the charges against him.

                        I think a victim of RM who has not yet come forward and is thinking about confidentially contacting SS would be encouraged to do so by the public announcement that SS has found the allegations credible, and by the resulting SS media attention. There is no reason for a victim to fear that RDs fantasy wish list that the cases be turned over to the courts or that the standard of proof be raised are remotely going to happen.

                        My statement that there was no need to respond was just a reminder that this does not have to be the YD show unless you choose to make it that. You can do what you want, obviously.
                        Last edited by YankeeDuchess; Jun. 27, 2020, 03:39 PM.

                        Comment


                          Robert Dover is still a very influential person in dressage for anyone with their eyes on the elite level. He is no longer the current chef but I think everyone would believe that having him on your side would be an asset if making a run at a Team berth or a USEF grant, and that having him dislike you would probably be a substantial obstacle to achieving either goal.

                          As such, I think he (and Debbie McDonald is in this position too), if he is truly an ethical person who believes in the values SafeSport was meant to champion, needs to be extremely careful in his advocacy to ensure that there is no sense that he gives everyone a fair shake, that people who make claims to SafeSport will not be harmed for doing so.

                          Another way for someone like him to make systemic advocacy would be write a private letter with the suggestions he has to SafeSport, USOC, and Congress, and with his position in high performance his position would probably be heard and get a response.

                          I can understand why Dover has taken the actions he has, but I wish he would look at the bigger picture and think not just about his friends and the people he knows, but all the people he doesn't know and will probably never know and how his actions could affect them.
                          If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

                          Comment


                            Part of a lot of people’s problem with RD (and this is mine) was his brief go fund me to help GHM. If this latest post and letter was stand alone, sure maybe he really does feel that way. Especially after the promo video he made for the USEF about Safe Sport. However, in light of his comments and actions wrt to GHM, I feel his questioning of Safe Sport does not come from a good place. He’s not dumb enough to act like DC and BN, but I think he’s in that same circle.

                            Comment


                              Originally posted by TheMoo View Post
                              Part of a lot of people’s problem with RD (and this is mine) was his brief go fund me to help GHM. If this latest post and letter was stand alone, sure maybe he really does feel that way. Especially after the promo video he made for the USEF about Safe Sport. However, in light of his comments and actions wrt to GHM, I feel his questioning of Safe Sport does not come from a good place. He’s not dumb enough to act like DC and BN, but I think he’s in that same circle.
                              Maybe don't speak for Robert Dover, there are a lot of reasons he could be saying these things. I don't assume he knows dirt on Bob McDonald and is covering up. We just don't know anything. Here is his orig. post again, he talks about due process being his main concern


                              Dover's World

                              August 6, 2019 ·

                              I’ve known George since I was a kid myself and actually met Robert Ross at Hunterdon in 1988 when Robert was 22. He was there for his second time for a week-long training session and George was kind enough to give him a room to stay in. Robert was and still is very handsome but asked if George was ever inappropriate with him either time he was there, he will tell you NEVER. George will say, like most men his or even my age, the 70’s especially were a crazy time and men and women, gay and straight, did crazy things. It was not called the “sexual revolution” for nothing. But retroactively attempting to judge one’s behavior in today’s world based on those times, what was for instance, going on in Studio 54 or Studio 1, is not only impossible but is unfair.
                              Now, rape is rape, regardless of the decade in which it happened and anyone found guilty of it should be charged with the crime. But something deemed “sexual abuse” today, brought by an accuser who may themselves be worthy of a stronger look into their behavior and who most likely would have to have been alone when this allegedly took place, put into the context of almost 50 years ago, is setting up a precedent for disaster. I hate that my friend, George, is going through this but it is even bigger than George and so in standing with George, I am standing up for the rights of us all and calling for Safe Sport to be overhauled. We need to protect our youth and all our athletes in sports but with a correct system using the rule of law and due process. DUE PROCESS is the point of my post. It is most certainly not meant to promote the idea that a victim should ever be victimized for coming forward. Nor should they feel shame in any way. Our American laws provide that everyone in innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. A lifetime suspension without a trial, no less a conviction, is antithetical to our American ideals.

                              Comment


                                Originally posted by NewYork_Marx View Post

                                Maybe don't speak for Robert Dover, there are a lot of reasons he could be saying these things. I don't assume he knows dirt on Bob McDonald and is covering up. We just don't know anything. Here is his orig. post again, he talks about due process being his main concern


                                Dover's World

                                August 6, 2019 ·

                                I’ve known George since I was a kid myself and actually met Robert Ross at Hunterdon in 1988 when Robert was 22. He was there for his second time for a week-long training session and George was kind enough to give him a room to stay in. Robert was and still is very handsome but asked if George was ever inappropriate with him either time he was there, he will tell you NEVER. George will say, like most men his or even my age, the 70’s especially were a crazy time and men and women, gay and straight, did crazy things. It was not called the “sexual revolution” for nothing. But retroactively attempting to judge one’s behavior in today’s world based on those times, what was for instance, going on in Studio 54 or Studio 1, is not only impossible but is unfair.
                                Now, rape is rape, regardless of the decade in which it happened and anyone found guilty of it should be charged with the crime. But something deemed “sexual abuse” today, brought by an accuser who may themselves be worthy of a stronger look into their behavior and who most likely would have to have been alone when this allegedly took place, put into the context of almost 50 years ago, is setting up a precedent for disaster. I hate that my friend, George, is going through this but it is even bigger than George and so in standing with George, I am standing up for the rights of us all and calling for Safe Sport to be overhauled. We need to protect our youth and all our athletes in sports but with a correct system using the rule of law and due process. DUE PROCESS is the point of my post. It is most certainly not meant to promote the idea that a victim should ever be victimized for coming forward. Nor should they feel shame in any way. Our American laws provide that everyone in innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. A lifetime suspension without a trial, no less a conviction, is antithetical to our American ideals.
                                Yes I’m well aware of his denial because his super hot hubby didn’t get molested by George. Also it has been said time and again wrt the part in bold, there is no due process in arbitration. A ban from horse showing does not equal jail time. Therefore any and all constitutional arguments fall flat. Safe Sport is more like an HR department, not a criminal investigation.

                                I’m also not speaking for RD, I’m speaking for myself and how his statements collectively and his actions come off.

                                Comment


                                  Originally posted by poltroon View Post
                                  Robert Dover is still a very influential person in dressage for anyone with their eyes on the elite level. He is no longer the current chef but I think everyone would believe that having him on your side would be an asset if making a run at a Team berth or a USEF grant, and that having him dislike you would probably be a substantial obstacle to achieving either goal.

                                  As such, I think he (and Debbie McDonald is in this position too), if he is truly an ethical person who believes in the values SafeSport was meant to champion, needs to be extremely careful in his advocacy to ensure that there is no sense that he gives everyone a fair shake, that people who make claims to SafeSport will not be harmed for doing so.

                                  Another way for someone like him to make systemic advocacy would be write a private letter with the suggestions he has to SafeSport, USOC, and Congress, and with his position in high performance his position would probably be heard and get a response.

                                  I can understand why Dover has taken the actions he has, but I wish he would look at the bigger picture and think not just about his friends and the people he knows, but all the people he doesn't know and will probably never know and how his actions could affect them.
                                  What he did was write a letter to USEF asking them to urge Congress to change the law to raise the standard of proof substantially. I don’t remember whether he asked USEF to advocate just turning it over to the courts, or not.

                                  Relative to what you wanted him to do, he made the letter public instead of private.

                                  Working backwards, there is zero chance Congress will change the law as he claims he wants. USEF has no incentive to even urge the changes to Congress, as SS has taken a very ugly job out of its hands, and is doing an excellent job. So absolutely zero changes to weaken SS will happen, not even USEF uselessly transmitting his complaints to Congress.

                                  The handling of Title IX cases does have a legitimate parallel to SS as an extra judicial process, and the Title IX process has had some serious abuses. Frankly, I think that if the Title IX process had the option of independent arbitration, like SS, it would have worked better, so perhaps Congress will reform the Title IX proceedings to look more like SS. His reference to the potential abuse of extra judicial processes like Title IX is a legitimate point and should be addressed with respect, and not reflexively condemned. For example, one could acknowledge the POTENTIAL abuse of extra judicial processes like Title IX and just respond, “Yeah, well, in Title IX date rape cases, you’re talking about two adult university students negotiating their personal relationships, and with SS cases we’re talking about adult predators vs child victims. Age imbalance, power imbalance. Not to discount the seriousness of date rape, but the victim of sexual misconduct involving a minor is much more vulnerable than an adult university student.”

                                  I think addressing the criticism or suggestion for reform respectfully (which is “giving the devil his due”, and not “playing devils advocate”), is the MORE EFFECTIVE way of disposing of his suggestion that the standard of proof be raised in SS cases, than shouting “RD, you are a pedophile supporter and so is anyone who clicked “like” on your stupid post”. Raising the standard of proof from preponderance to clear and convincing is being actively considered in the case of Title IX, but I think is a total nonstarter in the case of SS).

                                  So how will his actions affect SS and sex abuse victims or potential victims? This depends on whether any of his “suggested reforms” have any chance of going anywhere. I think they don’t.



                                  Comment


                                    Originally posted by TheMoo View Post

                                    Yes I’m well aware of his denial because his super hot hubby didn’t get molested by George. Also it has been said time and again wrt the part in bold, there is no due process in arbitration. A ban from horse showing does not equal jail time. Therefore any and all constitutional arguments fall flat. Safe Sport is more like an HR department, not a criminal investigation.

                                    I’m also not speaking for RD, I’m speaking for myself and how his statements collectively and his actions come off.
                                    Yes, for the 50th time we know how SS works. People just have a problem with how it works. I think it's a good start.

                                    I just think you need to be careful "his questioning of SS does not come from a good place". That is stating what you thinks his motivation is.

                                    Comment


                                      I dont think "we" do know how safe sport works, or at least "we" feign ignorance a lot when constructing "arguments" against safe sport.
                                      Last edited by ladyj79; Jun. 28, 2020, 03:17 PM. Reason: Auto correct fail
                                      Let me apologize in advance.

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                                        Also since the hack is navigating coth cripplingly slow and painful for everyone else, or just me?
                                        Let me apologize in advance.

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                                          Originally posted by ladyj79 View Post
                                          Also since the hack is navigating coth cripplingly slow and painful for everyone else, or just me?
                                          It’s not just you.

                                          NewYork_Marx I guess I’m confused as to why you highlighted the last part. That part is why I don’t trust his motivation and think it’s in line with Athletes For Equity.

                                          I’m also confused why I need to be careful. I stand by my opinion of his motivation.

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