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George Morris on the SS list

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  • Originally posted by alicen View Post
    Something is bothering me. I have known people who have overcome long standing problems with alcoholism and/or drug addiction or mental illness. Is not a lifelong ban from the USEF saying that people can not take responsibility for changing their behavior?. Is it the case that once a child molester, always a child molester? That a person can't choose to keep his hands to himself? I'm not trying to play devil's advocate here. I'm wondering ...
    being attracted to children is like any other attraction.
    some like breasts, some like legs, eyes, etc. Some like children. What turns you on, turns you on. You really can’t change that.
    A drug or alcohol issue can be treated or overcome through counseling and yes, choice. Sexual attraction to children, not so much.

    "Perhaps the final test of anybody's love of dogs is their willingness to permit them to make a camping ground of the bed" -Henry T. Merwin

    Comment


    • OK, thanks everyone for your responses.

      Comment


      • "The kids they hurt are as important to our sport as they are."

        poltroon I agree with your sentiment, but I would change this to "The kids they hurt are MORE important to our sport than they are"

        Comment


        • Crashing Boar

          "Doesn't mean I project my experience onto everyone I meet, public or private. Maybe y'all ought to hang your own abuse on the people who DID it, instead of projecting it onto George?"

          unless, of course, George was your abuser

          Comment


          • I can separate that he has contributed a lot to the sport from that of which he is accused. I can not understand allowing someone to berate, belittle and throw stuff at you because he is amazing at what he does (and pay for it).


            Above is quote from Pennywell Bay. I once witnessed a fairly bnt yell and throw a coke can at a student in the schooling ring. The mom was standng right there. That trainer did many other things widely known, including verbally and physically abuse his then girlfriend who had bruises. I still don't understand why that mom let her daughter continue riding with that trainer, but, it is indicative of a lot we are discussing on this important thread. Why, and why pay for it?
            Last edited by Figment; Sep. 17, 2019, 09:29 AM.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Zirgs View Post
              The fundamental question is how best to deal with sexual abuse and the long needed cultural change. For generations victims were oppressed by both the abuser and society.

              As an engaged parent that raises our kids to be empowered, I am horrified by SafeSports current codes and processes.

              While they have honorable Mission and Values, their authoritarian dictation of whom I can choose to train with, and associate my children and resources, so they can be athletes and participate in the sport they love is going down the path of dictatorship.

              Under the good intention to protect, SafeSpot strips away that which enables all of us to be empowered - Choice.

              Raising awareness is good.

              Stripping away the right to choose who should run a business and associate with harms all of us.

              Those that are at most risk, are those that post negative stories and comments about others in these forum, regardless if you think they are true. That behavior is considered bullying, and becomes grounds for reporting to SafeSport.

              I personally know that one of the banned trainers is innocent, and the key witness 20 yrs ago witheld evidence in the form of video surveillance tapes, which would have exonerated them. Since the staue of limitations is expired, the ability to correct a past ruling will be hard. So instead an innocent person is banned, and this forum is not only bashing them, but hunting to strip them of their business associates.

              We officially live in Orwell's 1984
              You “personally know that one of the banned trainers is innocent”. Logically, personal knowledge of a violation having occurred would mean that is conceivable that you could personally know that someone was guilty, but on a purely logical basis, how could you know for certain that no violation ever occurred? Unless you are a conjoined twin, perhaps.

              In the same vein, please explain how a video surveillance tape could could conceivably “exonerate” someone. If you have a video of a BNT not abusing a child, that does not prove he at no other time abused a child.

              I don’t care if you need to make up a completely hypothetical scenario, just explain to me how the existence of a surveillance video could possibly “exonerate” a wrongly accused trainer.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by YankeeDuchess View Post

                You “personally know that one of the banned trainers is innocent”. Logically, personal knowledge of a violation having occurred would mean that is conceivable that you could personally know that someone was guilty, but on a purely logical basis, how could you know for certain that no violation ever occurred? Unless you are a conjoined twin, perhaps.

                In the same vein, please explain how a video surveillance tape could could conceivably “exonerate” someone. If you have a video of a BNT not abusing a child, that does not prove he at no other time abused a child.

                I don’t care if you need to make up a completely hypothetical scenario, just explain to me how the existence of a surveillance video could possibly “exonerate” a wrongly accused trainer.
                Motion detector installed in their penis at birth?
                McDowell Racing Stables

                Home Away From Home

                Comment


                • It is entirely possible IF a person is banned by Safe Sport for past criminal behavior where guilt was found after a court trial. If there had been video surveillance cameras in the place where the abuse was supposed to have happened AND if that footage was not made available to the defense for use in the trial AND if the footage refuted a witness's testimony about the time and place (not so much actual abuse), then there was a miscarriage of justice. They do happen, as the Innocence Project has shown. Since Safe Sport bans for criminal convictions, it would be the same miscarriage of justice now as it was then.

                  I find this statement abhorrent-- If you have a video of a BNT not abusing a child, that does not prove he at no other time abused a child.

                  Last edited by vineyridge; Aug. 17, 2019, 02:12 PM.

                  Comment


                  • I have followed and occasionally commented on this and a couple of other threads related to Safesport. When I was a junior rider, I was taken advantage of by a much older male trainer. I don’t use the word victim because, luckily for me, I don’t feel like a victim today. However, there were a number of girls younger than I was who were very and truly victimized by this man at that same time and over a number of years. Back then I heard rumors but now, I know a number of them and have heard their stories first hand. When the investigation into this person began, I heard via text messages and phone calls from people I knew asking if I had been contacted by Safesport, a couple even suggesting I refuse to speak to them. My answer to them was, that while I have no need to go back there, I owe this individual nothing and would not lie to protect him. Safesport called and I told them the truth as I knew it but refused to be a witness. I was OK through all of that.

                    All was fine for me until the firestorm on social media following RG’s suicide. The backlash and victim blaming made me physically ill. My response was to call Safesport and agree to be a witness, not for me but for the others. The reason serial child molesters get away with it for decades is because of how very good they are at seeming like such a good person. Everyone thinks they are wonderful, sometimes even the parents of their victims. They are very good at what they do including grooming not just their victims but also their families. This despicable victim shaming combined with my finding out just how unbelievably vile the person I thought I knew turned out to be sent me spiraling downward. How could I not have seen how truly evil this man was? Why didn’t I accuse him of rape? I thought that because I was underage and didn’t give consent I should have said something, then maybe I might have prevented his abuse of these younger girls. I felt tremendously guilty and responsible for what happened to them. That’s a lot of responsibility for me as a middle aged woman to project backwards onto my teenage self back then. Fortunately for me, I was able to recognize that and let it go.

                    There are many victims out there and on this board who are victims of this man and others.

                    For those who want to characterize this thread or the others as an angry mob, either you haven’t read through the entire thread or you are willfully misrepresenting the conversations taking place here. Many different points of view have been expressed and many polite and informative exchanges have taken place. Not all have been perfectly polite, we are human and none of us is perfect. To those who have not bothered to educate themselves about how Safesport actually works and come on here with an ax to grind, don’t be surprised if you get an intense negative response. Educated and reasonable questions have been welcomed and engaged as long as those questions haven’t already been addressed multiple times on this thread already.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Zirgs View Post

                      OneGrayPony Not true. In the judicial sustem, once someone has served their time, they live amongst us. The SafeSport program both extends the boundaries of the legal system by extending punishment duration, and more concerning, they ban people that the legal system found innocent or exonerated, because SafeSport has the power to ban based on their interpretation of risk, which goes beyond our legal system. That is what the Safe Sport law allows, and why there is legitimate concern for all of us that it violates our Constitution. Unlike Federal, State and local laws for which we can vote in representatives, SafeSport creates their codes without our representation.

                      So OneGrayPony if someone reports you, and you are found exhonerated in the legal system, SafeSport can still ban you.
                      People are not “exonerated” in criminal or civil
                      courts; they may be found “not guilty” or “not liable”, respectively, which means that the prosecution did not meet its burden of proof to establish that they were “guilty” or “liable”. In OJs case, he was found “not guilty” of criminal charges of murder but liable in civil charges of wrongful death. In criminal courts, you are “presumed” innocent ex ante, but that basically means that the prosecution has the burden of proof to establish you did it (as opposed to the accused having the burden of proof to establish that he did not do it). Ex post, you may be found not guilty, but that is not the same thing as the court proclaiming that you are innocent.

                      SafeSport does not have the power to ban based on their assessment of risk. They have the burden of proof to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that you actually committed a violation. They can give you an interim suspension based on their assessment of current risk, but that is not a ban.

                      Are you pretending ignorance to make your points, or are you genuinely that ill-informed about how SafeSport works?

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Zirgs View Post

                        But the people that SafeSport bans are not all on sexual offender registries. The ban is beyond predators. Go look for yourself how many on that list fall under any state or federal registry. It is a quick internet search. You can even call SafeSport and ask them yourself if all banned individulas have full legal convictions or have some settled in court in nocontest because the trial is too expensive, or are some banned based only on the statement in a report.

                        Again anyone can report OneGrayPony for a sex offense. SafeSport will ban you based on their interpretation of the criminal offense and how much they believe the information in the report. Imagine you are innocent, and the law exhonerates any false claims against you, but you are still banned - how does that not bother you?

                        This is not about posting legal findings and holding those that are legally guilty accountable.
                        Of the 20 or so people banned in equestrian, about three-quarters are listed as “criminal disposition” which means a charge of sexual abuse in criminal court which resulted in something other than acquittal. Only about four of the bans are from SafeSport investigations.
                        Last edited by YankeeDuchess; Aug. 17, 2019, 02:52 PM.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by vineyridge View Post
                          It is entirely possible IF a person is banned by Safe Sport for past criminal behavior where guilt was found after a court trial. If there had been video surveillance cameras in the place where the abuse was supposed to have happened AND if that footage was not made available to the defense for use in the trial AND if the footage refuted a witness's testimony about the time and place (not so much actual abuse), then there was a miscarriage of justice. They do happen, as the Innocence Project has shown. Since Safe Sport bans for criminal convictions, it would be the same miscarriage of justice now as it was then.

                          I find this statement abhorrent-- If you have a video of a BNT not abusing a child, that does not prove he at no other time abused a child.
                          I can see that you might have video evidence that says he was wrongly convicted in court on the basis of a specific incident, but I still don’t see how a videotape could establish that he never abused a child, ever. It’s the difference between BNT being innocent wrt a specific incident vs, being innocent of any abuse, ever.

                          The poster did not identify the trainer she knows to be innocent, so how do we know if it was a ban by “criminal disposition” vs a SafeSport investigation? Yes, SafeSport issues bans based on criminal convictions, but if the miscarriage of justice was in the criminal courts, I don’t see why SafeSport should be blamed.

                          Are you saying that SafeSport should not ban people via criminal disposition because the criminsal justice system sometimes wrongly convicts?
                          Last edited by YankeeDuchess; Aug. 17, 2019, 03:05 PM.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Figment View Post
                            I once witnessed a fairly bnt yell and throw a coke can at a student in the schooling ring. The mom was standng right there. That trainer did many other things widely known, including verbally and physically abuse his then girlfriend who had bruises. I still don't understand why that mom let her daughter continue riding with that trainer, but, it is indicative of a lot we are discussing on this important thread. Why, and why pay for it?
                            Are there any former ruler- wielding nuns who could address Figment's question?

                            Way back in the day, circa 1959, I had some lessons while being ponied with my instructor right by my side ( I did have reins - two of them in fact). Whether from frustration or concern for the horse or both, whenever my hands assumed the piano hand position she would rap my knuckles with her crop - not all that very hard -just a bap-bap. Miss B didn't call them piano hands. She called them "the course hands of a scrubbing woman using a washing board". Then, I was a shy, timid child and certainly not accustomed to corrections of a physical nature, but I knew her actions stemmed from a deep concern that I got it right. Whether or not an other method would have been more effective? As an ingenue, how was I to know?


                            Comment


                            • I have wrestled with myself over the last three days over posting this because it is deeply personal, but if I can help even one person understand WHY someone didn't report, didn't come forward, defends the abuser or why someone in this situation isn't capable of consent, regardless of the age, I guess it is worth it.

                              I grew up in a deeply dysfunctional, alcoholic, abusive home; the youngest child in a large family.

                              I survived because I had a wonderful "village" of older siblings, friends, teachers and neighbors who accepted me showing up on their doorsteps without invitation or notice, who gave me safe places to stay and who nurtured me.

                              Many years later, when asked why I didn't tell them how bad things got; my answer was - I thought that was the deal.

                              Because everyone, even the wonderful people who supported me and sheltered me, asked the question in the same way: "Things aren't too bad at home, right?" Making it clear that the expected and desired answer was "Yeah, it's okay. I'm fine." From that, I intuited (I still believe correctly) that the social contract was that they would provide help and comfort if they didn't have to hear or be responsible for the gory details. NO ONE wanted to hear the details when I was a minor child, because then they would have had a duty to act and decisions to make.

                              The first time I told anyone exactly how bad it was was the first time someone asked who was actually open to hearing an answer other than "It's fine, I'm coping, it's a little crazy but I'm okay." I was in my late 20s and seeing a good therapist when that happened.

                              So with that dynamic in mind, put yourself in the shoes of a teen aged working student, asked how things are going at _______barn, Hunterdon or dozens of others. Imagine that at the same time, you're being told how lucky you are, what an incredible opportunity this is, and "Everything's going great, RIGHT?" Even if you had the vocabulary to describe what's happening, given that conversational opening, are you going to say "The riding's great, but the trainer is creepy and I don't know how to get out this situation?" Of course not. And every time someone tells you how great it is and how lucky you are, the less able you are to respond with anything other than what they want to hear.

                              My father was brilliant, charismatic and charming.
                              He was also angry, alcoholic,abusive and a master of casual, offhand cruelty. .

                              The entire household ran on keeping my father happy/not making him angry.

                              He didn't like children.

                              So we all craved his attention and approval and clamored to get it; more so because it was exceedingly rare.

                              (I'm going to pause there for a moment and let you think how closely that parallels the situation of a working student with a BNT.)

                              My father played a game with us when we were small. It was called "teaching us to box." It involved teaching us some punching techniques, and while you were focused on his hands, he would sweep his leg and knock you off your feet, after which he would pretend surprise and tell you that you had tripped.

                              We played this "game", getting tripped over and over again; until he got tired of it. Not *us*, him. We never got tired of trying to win a moment of his approval.

                              No one called it abuse, we called it playing with Dad. No one said we didn't want to play, because OMG, he was paying attention to us and we all wanted to bask in the glow of that paternal favor for a little while.

                              I kept playing long after I realized that he was tripping me, long after I learned to watch for the sweeping leg, because we were supposed to keep Dad happy. And getting tripped over and over again was so, so, so much better than Dad angry.

                              (Do you need another break to apply this to the abusive relationship between teenage working student and BNT?)

                              But here's the real pathology. I was in my mid twenties, living on my own. I was home for a holiday. One of my siblings had small children, my eldest sister was pregnant with her first child.

                              My father was teaching his two grandsons "how to box." And I could see the looks on their faces as they kept getting tripped, saw their confusion as they'd get up and try again. And I saw them look towards the other adults for guidance and they received only approval and encouragement to keep playing.

                              The pregnant sister asked where Dad was, and I reported that Dad was playing with the grand kids. Like that was happy news.

                              Pregnant sister watched the "game" for a few minutes then had a totally inexplicable meltdown, cursed my father and left the house. The rest of the family concluded she was overly emotional and that pregnancy hormones had gotten the best of her.

                              (No, of course not. She saw the situation clearly because she had been away from home the longest and was pregnant. So she called a spade a spade, child abuse child abuse, swore to never let her child be around our father and left.)

                              It was many years later, again with a gifted therapist, that I was able to recognize that it was child abuse, not "Dad being Dad" or "Dad playing with the grandkids." and that it was not okay just because there wasn't lasting physical harm.

                              Because when you are raised in a culture of that being normal, accepted and encouraged, it takes you a long time away from that culture to recognize it for what it is.

                              Now, think of that story in terms of a kid who went to be a working student for a BNT in the 70s, and stayed inside the tiny, incestuous, toxic culture that is horse sport at the upper levels. And never had a gifted therapist. Does that kid ever truly learn that abuse is NOT normal and accepted? That it's not just "Dad being Dad" or "George being George" or "Dad playing with the grandkids?" Or that you shouldn't just suck it up and accept it because it keeps the authority figure happy and nobody actually got, you know, hurt?

                              Any more questions on why people don't report or don't report for years afterward? Or why someone can defend an abuser? And why consent isn't the issue?
                              Last edited by newtopicnewalter; Aug. 18, 2019, 03:16 PM.
                              Proud member of the Cackling Yentas!

                              Comment


                              • People seem to not understand the criminal justice system AT ALL. And then they try to extrapolate this misunderstanding to SS. In reality it can turn out to be really quite the opposite of what they say that they want- oversight of child molesters. Maybe that is the point? Maybe they do not want anyone to be punished for child sexual abuse.


                                The horse set needs to calm down. Some of the society breed club members are acting as if they are going to choose this hill to die on.

                                Comment


                                • Originally posted by alicen View Post

                                  Are there any former ruler- wielding nuns who could address Figment's question?

                                  Way back in the day, circa 1959, I had some lessons while being ponied with my instructor right by my side ( I did have reins - two of them in fact). Whether from frustration or concern for the horse or both, whenever my hands assumed the piano hand position she would rap my knuckles with her crop - not all that very hard -just a bap-bap. Miss B didn't call them piano hands. She called them "the course hands of a scrubbing woman using a washing board". Then, I was a shy, timid child and certainly not accustomed to corrections of a physical nature, but I knew her actions stemmed from a deep concern that I got it right. Whether or not an other method would have been more effective? As an ingenue, how was I to know?

                                  Perhaps a sharp verbal "Hands!" ?

                                  ETA: Realized upon re-reading you weren't actually asking what would have been a better method, but pointing out you *didn't* have a basis for comparison.
                                  "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                                  ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

                                  Comment


                                  • Originally posted by YankeeDuchess View Post

                                    I can see that you might have video evidence that says he was wrongly convicted in court on the basis of a specific incident, but I still don’t see how a videotape could establish that he never abused a child, ever. It’s the difference between BNT being innocent wrt a specific incident vs, being innocent of any abuse, ever.

                                    The poster did not identify the trainer she knows to be innocent, so how do we know if it was a ban by “criminal disposition” vs a SafeSport investigation? Yes, SafeSport issues bans based on criminal convictions, but if the miscarriage of justice was in the criminal courts, I don’t see why SafeSport should be blamed.

                                    Are you saying that SafeSport should not ban people via criminal disposition because the criminsal justice system sometimes wrongly convicts?
                                    No. I'm not saying that Safe Sport should not rely on convictions.There really is nothing else that they can do. But to answer your first paragraph, how can anyone ever prove that they were not innocent of any abuse ever? It's possible to allege specific incidents and prove or disprove them, but a general allegation without supporting incidents of abuse? Impossible.

                                    I merely brought up the fact that miscarriages of justice can occur, and people who believe that one has happened will support the person involved.

                                    Comment


                                    • Originally posted by Figment View Post
                                      I can separate that he has contributed a lot to the sport from that of which he is accused. I can not understand allowing someone to berate, belittle and throw stuff at you because he is amazing at what he does (and pay for it).


                                      Above is quote from Pennywell Bay. I once witnessed a fairly bnt yell and throw a coke can at a student in the schooling ring. The mom was standng right there. That trainer did many other things widely known, including verbally and physically abuse his then girlfriend who had bruises. I still don't understand why that mom let her daughter continue riding with that trainer, but, it is indicative of a lot we are discussing on this important thread. Why, and why pay for it?
                                      • Qu
                                      I watched a trainer (I had just moved to his barn) throw a metal rake at a horse with a teen on him. Rake got stuck in horse's tail. Horse went nuts (rightfully so). Kid stayed on but WOW. I moved my horses the next day. Yes, KId's parent was watching the lesson. Parent did not react at all. I still dont understand why people choose to train with trainers such as this.


                                      Save a life...be an organ donor! Visit www.Transplantbuddies.org

                                      Comment


                                      • Originally posted by alicen View Post

                                        Are there any former ruler- wielding nuns who could address Figment's question?

                                        Way back in the day, circa 1959, I had some lessons while being ponied with my instructor right by my side ( I did have reins - two of them in fact). Whether from frustration or concern for the horse or both, whenever my hands assumed the piano hand position she would rap my knuckles with her crop - not all that very hard -just a bap-bap. Miss B didn't call them piano hands. She called them "the course hands of a scrubbing woman using a washing board". Then, I was a shy, timid child and certainly not accustomed to corrections of a physical nature, but I knew her actions stemmed from a deep concern that I got it right. Whether or not an other method would have been more effective? As an ingenue, how was I to know?

                                        A digression not concerning sexual abuse, but relating to instruction now considered "too harsh."

                                        Up-thread are several lamentations that our show jumpers are no longer No. 1 in the world, wondering if the American Jumping Style which peaked in the 80's is now passe'. Reasons given are different kinds of horses, courses, etc. and are all valid topics of discussion.

                                        However, I'd like to just throw out one other observation:

                                        Maybe we're too mentally fragile today and less committed to train as hard as was common then.

                                        People who came up in those old days, particularly without tons of money, and rode with exacting sticklers like Victor Hugo-Vidal, George, Bert deNemethy and various of the old Ft. Riley trainers, (or Bruce Davidson's barn on the eventing side) were not raised by today's helicopter parenting style with self-esteem building as a priority. Instead, it was "Stand & Deliver!" No one cared how you "feel," just EXECUTE! Parents weren't hovering and mouthing postmodern psychobabble, promoting trained helplessness and mental fragility. No one was telling teens that "words are violence" and you need society's protection from "uncomfortable thoughts." And everybody definitely DIDN'T get a trophy. You had to work as hard at riding as everything else and EARN success and respect from both teachers and peers. Even if you were filthy rich, nothing was "given."

                                        Schoolteachers brooked no backtalk, parents backed up adults in authority, and no excuses were made for poor performance in school. Today every sub-par performer gets a Dx "label" and some excuse for either acting out or flunking out, and believe me that has not improved our workforce! Equestrian sport of the time must be seen in that context.

                                        Riding over fences was an elite sport partaken in by probably 1/100th of the 1% (still is!) and at the levels of Big Eq and the road to Grand Prix, lame excuses would get you summarily dismissed. Just like in a good private school, the default was to show up neat, clean and appropriately turned out, be respectful and quiet and try your absolute best, more out of respect for the sport itself than even the personality of the instructor. Everyone understood they were part of something bigger than themselves; the quest for Excellence in horsemanship. It was a great privilege to even be a part of that, let alone at the highest levels. Following WWII, yes, nationalistic pride figured in there prominently. This began after all as a competition by and for military officers. Toughness and respect went without saying.

                                        I believe that modern society's pandering to, dare I say active promotion of hypersensitivity, anxiety syndromes, self-absorption, victimhood real or imagined as a primary identity, and cosseting in mental "safe spaces" or "comfort zones" is the real culprit in the slow downgrading of American equestrianism. The Greatest Generation charged through a storm of hot lead on the beaches of Normandy and Guadalcanal at 18 years old; today's juniors are unhinged by "mean tweets!"

                                        The last few days I've spent at a large recognized regional show and watched eq. horses, bored and sour, climb over the fences wringing their tails with their ears pinned. I've watched riders pull rails jumping 2' 9". The jumps for many divisions seemed even lower than they were last year. It seems a small minority of the H/J population can now be expected to handle even 3'? In the heyday of mean, nasty ol' George, that was at least the height for everyone but small ponies! All horses and adults jumped 3' 6" and most made it look easy.

                                        There is nothing wrong with riding at the recreational levels; it's where most people top out and enjoy the sport. But let's not kid ourselves that Excellence on the International stage is going to be returning any time soon. I just don't see Generation Snowflake producing the grit, guts, and resilience to get us there. What it may get us is our overseas economic and strategic rivals arriving to eat our lunch without resistance.

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                                        • A shout out to the good therapists!

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