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George Morris on the SS list

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    Originally posted by NoSuchPerson View Post
    I feel like this thread has gone on so long that we now have new people showing up and rehashing all the same stuff that was discussed ad nauseam earlier. Which is, I guess, inevitable when you have long-running discussions.

    So we're over 2900 posts in and I still haven't heard any solid suggestions for "improving" SafeSport beyond the oft repeated demands to adopt the procedures of the criminal/civil justice system, which is a useless suggestion because SafeSport was explicitly created to operate outside the bounds of that system.

    And now I've repeated myself for the umpteenth time, so I guess I need to be done with this discussion.
    Also wondering if there are any new developments with the actual case? Seem to be 5 new pages of squabble each time one returns

    Comment


      Originally posted by dags View Post
      ..
      Disappointed to see some generally respected posters cheapen a largely thoughtful & informative discussion that is clearly intended to identify instances where SS may need some shoring up.
      Yes, the whole thread has been such an informative and inspiring read but that sort of thing has brought it down to a really dull and unpleasant level more than once. I can see now why some otherwise thoughtful, interesting people either leave or go to pms, as someone mentioned earlier.

      It's unfortunate (for me personally) but I think I'm finally done with it. However to each their own posting style. It's a free country.
      One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.
      William Shakespeare

      Comment


        Originally posted by Alterforme View Post
        If the witnesses on both sides do attend the arbitration hearings, I’m thinking since it’s not a trial, that the witnesses can be questioned by the arbitrator in separate rooms, or at different times, or on different days without having to see each other. Would that be correct?
        The arbitration is done by video conferencing. The Reporting Party/victim can see the entire arbitration if they so choose. The other witnesses can only see the other participants when it is their turn to talk. One side can get together at a single location if they desire, but it is not necessary. Arbitrators are all over the country, SafeSport is in Colorado. No travel expense for witnesses or lawyer unless one side chooses to do it that way.

        Comment


          Originally posted by YankeeDuchess View Post

          Keep in mind that there can be third part reporters. I could report to SafeSport that I had evidence of sexual misconduct by BNT Mr XYZ with 24 year old Emma ABC but as the reporter I could remain anonymous. The fact that reporters may be synonymous does not mean that claimants, or alleged victims, are anonymous.
          You are not the Reporting Party if you are anonymous. They do not use anonymous reports in arbitration. SafeSport has told people they can file a report anonymously, but without a name or someone willing to testify, the evidence is not strong.

          Comment


            Originally posted by dannyboy View Post
            I do want to interject here that, although SS does not seek restitution or take any further action once a penalty has been decided, I would expect that in future, when the statute of limitations has not been exceeded, or has been waived by the state in which the actions took place, the victims would pursue civil or criminal cases. i also would imagine that a ban by SS would be admissible in evidence. (but I'm not a lawyer).
            The Statute of Limitations has not expired in several cases. Criminal action can be taken in some cases, and civil in others. Not every victim is interested in pursuing civil charges. It is not always about seeking restitution or wanting to punish you abuser. Some victims are happy knowing they have done something to regain control of their own life, inform the equestrian community of patterns of abuse and hopefully protect others. That is enough. However, I agree, it would be beneficial if they would use the SafeSport ruling as supporting evidence.

            I can say the SS process through arbitration is extremely difficult and emotionally exhausting. I read a few studies that indicated each time a victim tells their story it gets deeper ingrained in their brain. I never thought about my abuse in my late-teens through early 50s. It would affect me when I saw my abuser or any family members, but I was able to bury my feelings. It would affect my personal relationships, but not my daily life until I saw a news story about sexual abuse, then it would all resurface. Testifying was one of the hardest things I have ever done. And now I think about every time I read these threads or see something on FB. Taking my abuser to court will not change this. Money will not change this. Hopefully time will reduce the effect it has on me, but I don't think legal action would be beneficial.
            Last edited by Keep it Simple; Aug. 27, 2019, 11:26 AM.

            Comment


              Originally posted by Texarkana View Post

              And this is one of the chief reasons why criminal sexual misconduct cases fail to be prosecuted.

              The victim experiences an incredibly traumatic, personal event and lawyers want them to rehash their experiences or attempt to discredit their character.

              It doesn't matter if the the underage victim was sexually active, impaired, or even "consensual." A minor cannot give consent, especially in situations where there is a power imbalance.

              People keep forgetting that SafeSport isn't convicting anyone of crimes. They are just "firing" people who do not abide by the organization's standards.
              Excellent post. It's important to separate SS from the process of a criminal trial. They are NOT the same at all.

              Comment


                Originally posted by BigMama1 View Post

                I said I understood the appeal was for procedural grounds. Happy to be proven wrong there. Doesn’t change the fact that following a thorough investigation, SS issues a verdict and may impose a sanction. Using GM as an example, he was found guilty, for want if a better word. I will now consider him guilty unless the appeal results give me reason it to. In court cases do you believe a defendant who was found guilty should still be considered innocent until after an appeal?
                While the SafeSport process is a grievance procedure somewhat analogous to a criminal court, it is not a criminal court and they use different terms for various things.

                For example, after their 2 year investigation of GM, SafeSport did not announce that GM was “guilty”. That is a word reserved for the criminal courts.

                Instead, their statement is that, without mentioning the length of the investigation or number of complainants, SafeSport has “determined the allegations to be credible” and issued a lifetime ban. They also specify what aspect of the code was at issue, usually “sexual misconduct with a minor”.

                This is mostly just terminology. Instead of saying, on the basis of an investigation, we have determined he is “guilty”, they announced that “they have found there to be credible allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor”.

                Some people have misconstrued this language, along with the language permitting anonymous reports as saying that someone can call up SafeSport and anonymously say “BNT XYZ had sex with me. It was 40 years ago but I was only 13 at the time.” In their fantasy horror story, they imagine that SafeSport decides based on whim whether it, SafeSport, considers the allegation “credible” or not and then issues a ban.

                We know that there is a very extensive investigation by SafeSport before they announce they have determined that there are credible allegations of misconduct. However, there is no independent arbitrator (analogous to the judge) prior to the appeal. Like the police and DA, SafeSport will want to investigate all sides of the case, including interviewing the respondent and his witnesses to determine whether they have enough evidence to meet their burden of proof IF it comes to arbitration. However, it is not clear to me that the investigation part is the part of the process that is intended to be a fair balanced assessment of the evidence.

                The respondent’s primary venue for stating his case, as I understand it, is when it goes before an independent arbitrator, which happens during the appeal. As a private person, I am very comfortable considering GM “guilty”. However, note that SafeSport does not use the word “guilty”. They just say “credible allegation of misconduct.”

                I begrudgingly admit that the ISWG people have a tiny bit of a legitimate complaint in that the ban is imposed before the appeal has been completed, because I have some sympathy with the notion that he has not yet had the opportunity to defend himself in front of the independent arbitrator.

                Of course criminal defendants can be jailed while awaiting trial, and SafeSport does not incarcerate people, so I also see the case for the ban being in place while the appeal proceeds. However, if delaying the ban until after the appeal succeeded in shutting up the ISWG people, I could get behind that. (But if course it would not shut them up.)

                I was glad you brought up the claim that the appeal focused on procedural issues and not the merits of the case, because I also had read that, and thought, “well, that’s screwy”, and later learned that the opposite was true. I vaguely remember the source being Bonnie Navin. She has stated as fact some other claims that, if true, make SafeSport look like a joke, but seem very unlikely to be true. Do you remember where you read that?

                Comment


                  Originally posted by Denali6298 View Post
                  Horsegirl's Mom It is not only about the hardship for the reporting party to attend. It’s about going through it all over again. There was a Facebook post (it has since been deleted) made about GM threatening their family during an in person interview.

                  Safe Sport is specifically designed to operate like an HR department. I still do not understand this desire to make it like the criminal courts.

                  People routinely say Safe Sport needs to be shored up, made better, etc. However the only specific thing anyone has pointed out is lack of signed witnesses statements can lead to an overturn on the appeal. Why, if signed witness statements will suffice, are people arguing for live testimony?
                  It has not yet been established that “signed witness statements will suffice”. The hope is to have a discussion of various issues, for example, signed witness statement, sworn statements, the ability to compel live testimony, the merits or not of direct cross-examination, etc.

                  Comment


                    Originally posted by YankeeDuchess View Post


                    We know that there is a very extensive investigation by SafeSport before they announce they have determined that there are credible allegations of misconduct. However, there is no independent arbitrator (analogous to the judge) prior to the appeal. Like the police and DA, SafeSport will want to investigate all sides of the case, including interviewing the respondent and his witnesses to determine whether they have enough evidence to meet their burden of proof IF it comes to arbitration. However, it is not clear to me that the investigation part is the part of the process that is intended to be a fair balanced assessment of the evidence.

                    The respondent’s primary venue for stating his case, as I understand it, is when it goes before an independent arbitrator, which happens during the appeal. As a private person, I am very comfortable considering GM “guilty”. However, note that SafeSport does not use the word “guilty”. They just say “credible allegation of misconduct.”

                    I begrudgingly admit that the ISWG people have a tiny bit of a legitimate complaint in that the ban is imposed before the appeal has been completed, because I have some sympathy with the notion that he has not yet had the opportunity to defend himself in front of the independent arbitrator.
                    This is not true. The Responding Party can present whatever evidence they want during the investigation. They have the opportunity to discredit the victim. They can provide evidence disputing the claim, etc. The investigator interviews witnesses, compiles reports from doctors/therapist, character statements, etc. (Similar to police or HR investigation). The investigator writes a report presenting his evidence to the SS director who reviews everything and make a decision. I guess you could say he is not independent, since he is employed by SS, but it does not benefit SS if the evidence is not strong enough for the decision to be upheld during arbitration.
                    Last edited by Keep it Simple; Aug. 27, 2019, 01:02 PM.

                    Comment


                      Originally posted by Texarkana View Post

                      People keep forgetting that SafeSport isn't convicting anyone of crimes. They are just "firing" people who do not abide by the organization's standards.
                      I’ve heard people saying that SafeSport bans are analogous to getting fired from a job for sexual harassment, and I have to strongly disagree with that.

                      If someone is fired from a job for sexual harassment, they’re still free to seek employment with other companies in the same area of business, other areas of the country. The reason for their getting fired is not made publicly known and listed on a website along with the nature of the harassment claim.

                      With a SafeSport ban, those that aren’t Really Big Names are effectively excluded from the whole sport (yes, I know, Paul Valliere, blah blah blah, but I doubt if a local no-name trainer would be able to pull the same thing off), and their names and infractions are made readily available to the general public.

                      I am totally ok with this, because I don’t believe that SafeSport hands out bans without a high degree of certainty that the accusations are legit. I don’t think that they are banning anyone because some anonymous claimant said a male trainer dated a 17 year old 30 years ago when he was 20. I don’t “stand with George” and I find the outcry against his ban pretty appalling because I believe that they wouldn’t have banned him without some pretty conclusive evidence.

                      But SafeSport bans are NOT “just getting fired” or “being excluded from a club.” They are losing your livelihood and being placed on what is essentially a sex-offender registry.

                      Comment


                        Originally posted by NoSuchPerson View Post
                        I feel like this thread has gone on so long that we now have new people showing up and rehashing all the same stuff that was discussed ad nauseam earlier. Which is, I guess, inevitable when you have long-running discussions.

                        So we're over 2900 posts in and I still haven't heard any solid suggestions for "improving" SafeSport beyond the oft repeated demands to adopt the procedures of the criminal/civil justice system, which is a useless suggestion because SafeSport was explicitly created to operate outside the bounds of that system.

                        And now I've repeated myself for the umpteenth time, so I guess I need to be done with this discussion.
                        “SafeSport was explicitly created to operate outside the bounds of” the criminal justice system. True. Absolutely true. We all understand that.

                        In your mind, does accepting that statement logically imply that there is no way that SafeSport can be modified by altering one or two specific aspects of its procedures and with appropriate modification possibly be better configured to weed out bad guys and/or reduce fears of innocent people being banned? Altering one or two specific procedural features might make it look a tiny, tiny bit more like the criminal justice system, but would still leave it operating “outside the bounds of the criminal justice system”, as it is now.

                        Please note this is a yes or no question. The question is not rhetorical. Please respond.

                        Comment


                          Originally posted by YankeeDuchess View Post

                          It has not yet been established that “signed witness statements will suffice”. The hope is to have a discussion of various issues, for example, signed witness statement, sworn statements, the ability to compel live testimony, the merits or not of direct cross-examination, etc.
                          Actually it has with the Lopez case. Signed statements are a thing in any HR type investigation, which is what Safe Sport is. I highly doubt the arbitration process would have a higher bar for evidence than the investigation process to hand out a ban.

                          Keep it Simple can you clarify this point?

                          Comment


                            Originally posted by Sticky Situation View Post

                            I am totally ok with this, because I don’t believe that SafeSport hands out bans without a high degree of certainty that the accusations are legit. I don’t think that they are banning anyone because some anonymous claimant said a male trainer dated a 17 year old 30 years ago when he was 20. I don’t “stand with George” and I find the outcry against his ban pretty appalling because I believe that they wouldn’t have banned him without some pretty conclusive evidence.

                            But SafeSport bans are NOT “just getting fired” or “being excluded from a club.” They are losing your livelihood and being placed on what is essentially a sex-offender registry.
                            As well they should be! A lot of these guys were found guilty in an actual court and are registered sex offenders, even if they try to hide it. They have no business being around kids/teenagers on a daily basis as an instructor. They need to find a different way to make a living.

                            And who would want someone that, through SafeSport, was found to have deliberately harmed a horse or some other type of abuse. They shouldn't be allowed to carry on somewhere else doing the same damn thing. That's part of the problem, these dirtbags get caught and then they just move elsewhere and start the cycle all over again.

                            Comment


                              Originally posted by YankeeDuchess View Post

                              It has not yet been established that “signed witness statements will suffice”. The hope is to have a discussion of various issues, for example, signed witness statement, sworn statements, the ability to compel live testimony, the merits or not of direct cross-examination, etc.
                              I think there is an ambiguity about what it means to say "signed witness statements will suffice."

                              The SafeSport arbitration rules clearly state that evidence may be submitted by affidavit. (Rule 26). So in that sense, affidavits "suffice."

                              However, the point I made above is that realistically, if SafeSport presents a bunch of paper statements (and we lawyers know how carefully those can be crafted!), while the respondent presents credible and personable live witnesses who are willing to answer the arbitrator's tough questions... there is a high probability the arbitrator will find for the respondent. It sounds like that's what happened in the Lopez case.

                              I can share that in one recent trial, we were forced to rely on a lot of videotaped deposition testimony because the witnesses were geographically outside the court's subpoena power, so we could not make them come live. The other side had live witnesses, who came off as personable and sympathetic. One defendant even had his wife attend to present the picture of a supportive spouse! We lost. Juries like real people. I wouldn't expect the JAMS judges to be much different.

                              This is why I believe SS should consider adopting a procedure for subpoenas.
                              Last edited by Horsegirl's Mom; Aug. 27, 2019, 12:29 PM.

                              Comment


                                Originally posted by Gainer View Post

                                As well they should be! A lot of these guys were found guilty in an actual court and are registered sex offenders, even if they try to hide it. They have no business being around kids/teenagers on a daily basis as an instructor. They need to find a different way to make a living.

                                And who would want someone that, through SafeSport, was found to have deliberately harmed a horse or some other type of abuse. They shouldn't be allowed to carry on somewhere else doing the same damn thing. That's part of the problem, these dirtbags get caught and then they just move elsewhere and start the cycle all over again.
                                I completely agree! I don’t want people like that to be able to stay in the sport.

                                I just dislike the arguments I've seen that try to defend SafeSport against the “stand with George” crowd by downplaying the severity of a lifetime ban.

                                Comment


                                  Originally posted by Keep it Simple View Post

                                  This is not true. The Responding Party can present whatever evidence they want during the investigation. They have the opportunity to discredit the victim. They can provide evidence disputing the claim, etc. The investigation interviews witnesses, compiles reports, character statements, etc. (Similar to police or HR investigation). The investigator presents his evidence to the SS director who reviews everything and make a decision. I guess you could say he is not independent, since he is employed by SS, but it does not benefit SS if the evidence is not strong enough for the decision to be upheld during arbitration.
                                  This is consistent with what I was trying to say. The accused does not get to state his case before an independent adjudicator until the appeal. I agree that SafeSport has an incentive to investigate fully and know whatever exculpatory evidence is out there, since they have the burden of proof to establish the violations occurred at appeal.

                                  If it is doing its job, SafeSport will attempt to look at evidence for and against, but that is not the same thing as being an impartial, independent entity.

                                  Comment


                                    I think in the cases we've seen a lifetime ban is appropriate. People have mentioned waiting until after an appeal to place the ban. I don't know how that would be preferable. If you have someone that's molesting or raping children, do you really want to err on the side of keeping them practicing until after an appeal?

                                    Comment


                                      Originally posted by YankeeDuchess View Post

                                      “SafeSport was explicitly created to operate outside the bounds of” the criminal justice system. True. Absolutely true. We all understand that.

                                      In your mind, does accepting that statement logically imply that there is no way that SafeSport can be modified by altering one or two specific aspects of its procedures and with appropriate modification possibly be better configured to weed out bad guys and/or reduce fears of innocent people being banned? Altering one or two specific procedural features might make it look a tiny, tiny bit more like the criminal justice system, but would still leave it operating “outside the bounds of the criminal justice system”, as it is now.

                                      Please note this is a yes or no question. The question is not rhetorical. Please respond.
                                      I don't appreciate your imperious attitude. I also don't appreciate you asking a question that I've already answered, more than once, previously in this thread, especially so since it came along with your demand that I respond and that I respond in exactly the way you demand that I do it. Neither do I appreciate the fact that you're ignoring 90% of what I've already said in this and the Rob Gage discussion.

                                      If you had been reading along and paying attention, you would have seen my posts in which I offered several specific suggestions for the improvement of the Safe Sport process. But apparently you aren't interested in talking about that. It seems to me that you're less interested in participating a real discussion on this subject and more focused on just endlessly repeating the same complaints, beating the same drum.
                                      "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                                      that's even remotely true."

                                      Homer Simpson

                                      Comment


                                        Originally posted by Sticky Situation View Post

                                        I completely agree! I don’t want people like that to be able to stay in the sport.

                                        I just dislike the arguments I've seen that try to defend SafeSport against the “stand with George” crowd by downplaying the severity of a lifetime ban.
                                        The down playing of a lifetime ban is to illustrate that Safe Sport does not award punitive damages to the victims, they do not sentence the accused to jail or require them to register as a sex offender. So compared to that, yes it’s just getting kicked out of the club.

                                        Until someone can cough up a name of someone who is destitute over a ban, worrying about a hypothetical no name trainer is wasted energy. Also, people are probably more willing to speak up against hypothetical no name trainer than they are the BNT. Hypothetical no name trainer is more likely to get jail time than the BNT. See Randall Cates (never went to trial because the abused wouldn’t cooperate but police investigated) and Jim Gorgio who is now the SS overhaul groups mascot/token child molester.

                                        Comment


                                          Originally posted by Denali6298 View Post

                                          Actually it has with the Lopez case. Signed statements are a thing in any HR type investigation, which is what Safe Sport is. I highly doubt the arbitration process would have a higher bar for evidence than the investigation process to hand out a ban.

                                          Keep it Simple can you clarify this point?
                                          So you’ve already decided and the rest of us are not allowed to discuss it?

                                          Comment

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