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  • 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, 01:29 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


                  • Originally posted by YankeeDuchess View Post

                    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.
                    Presenting evidence, witnesses etc to refute the claims during the investigation IS stating one’s case. Neither side presents their case in front of an independent adjudicator so I fail to see how that is unfair to the accused.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by YankeeDuchess View Post

                      So you’ve already decided and the rest of us are not allowed to discuss it?
                      I didn’t decide anything. It was a given reason by the arbitrator. I’m not an arbitrator.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by mountainbells View Post
                        From the Lopez article:

                        “But in its ruling to reinstate Jean Lopez Monday, the three-member arbitration panel said their was insufficient evidence to uphold the ban without testimony of the three survivors of his alleged abuse at the Dec. 27 hearing and because Safe Sport officials did not provide the panel with sworn deposition transcripts or affidavits supporting the women’s allegations, according to a confidential Safe Sport document, obtained by the Southern California News group, which outlined the ruling.”

                        However,

                        “Safe Sport officials said Allard and other attorneys for the survivors turned down an offer to sign affidavits the center proposed offering as evidence in arbitration hearing. Statements made by the three survivors, Kay Poe, Mandy Meloon and Heidi Gilbert, during Safe Sport’s initial investigation of Lopez were entered as evidence for the hearing, according the arbitration ruling document.” (quoted from the article)

                        So, did SS fail to provide testimony they already had from the investigation? Did the attorney’s for the survivors really decline to help provide evidence via signed affidavits? Not talking about live testimony at the arbitration here, but submitted written documents, which perhaps could have changed the final decision.

                        Seems like a big mess that allowed the Lopez bros to get off the hook.

                        Am I missing something right in front of my eyes?
                        YankeeDuchess

                        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.
                          I humbly admit that I fail to understand this post, as it seems to suggest that discussing changes to one or two aspects of the SafeSport procedures is tantamount to turning SafeSport into the criminal justice system.

                          I humbly submit that, in my view, it should be acceptable to discuss the relative merits of altering the SafeSport procedures in a few specific ways to improve its functioning but still leaving SafeSport “outside” the criminal justice system, as it is now.
                          Last edited by YankeeDuchess; Aug. 27, 2019, 10:34 PM.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Denali6298 View Post

                            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.

                            Also, 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/slash token child molester.
                            As I said, I’m not concerned for the people on the banned list. If the charges against someone, big name or not, are credible enough and severe enough to result in a lifetime ban, the loss of their livelihood is deserved.

                            But downplaying the severity of the ban undermines the other arguments in defense of the SafeSport process ... that nobody gets banned without a very thorough investigation, that bans won’t be based on anonymous complaints or a single unsubstantiated claim; that SafeSport doesn’t hand out bans willy-nilly just because someone touched a rider’s leg to correct their position without asking for permission.

                            Saying, “well, they’re just kicked out of a club” and “they can still teach and train, just not at USEF shows” makes it seem as though the person saying it is ok with the possibility that some innocent people will be banned, because at least they aren’t in jail.

                            A ban is a big deal, and as I understand it, it is only done for severe offenses after a very thorough investigation demonstrates that it is extremely unlikely the accused did not do what they were accused of doing. As it should be.

                            Comment


                            • Sticky Situation No one can name a person who has been banned from the USEF/Safe Sport/or other horse association that is destitute because they lost their livelihood.

                              Comment


                              • Where did I say anyone was destitute? By "losing their livelihood" I mean their ability to make a living as a riding instructor/horse trainer ... not that they can't get a job in some other industry and make ends meet.

                                And again, my concern is not over the comfort of people who earn themselves a SafeSport ban. It's over the use of arguments that make it seem like a SafeSport ban is just an inconvenience that otherwise allows the banned individual to continue with business as usual.

                                Comment


                                • Originally posted by Sticky Situation View Post
                                  Where did I say anyone was destitute? By "losing their livelihood" I mean their ability to make a living as a riding instructor/horse trainer ... not that they can't get a job in some other industry and make ends meet.

                                  And again, my concern is not over the comfort of people who earn themselves a SafeSport ban. It's over the use of arguments that make it seem like a SafeSport ban is just an inconvenience that otherwise allows the banned individual to continue with business as usual.
                                  A lot of the people on the ban list are still riding and training.

                                  Comment


                                  • Originally posted by Denali6298 View Post

                                    Presenting evidence, witnesses etc to refute the claims during the investigation IS stating one’s case. Neither side presents their case in front of an independent adjudicator so I fail to see how that is unfair to the accused.
                                    After an investigation run by SafeSport, in which SafeSport gathers evidence and interviews witnesses on both sides, SafeSport then issues its determination that they have found “credible allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor” BEFORE they are required to establish to an independent arbitrator by a preponderance of the evidence that the violation occurred.

                                    You’re right that NEITHER side presents evidence before an independent arbitrator prior to the appeal. Prior to the appeal ONE of the two sides, SafeSport, makes a determination based on its assessment of its own investigation. Jeez.

                                    I have no problem with this. But it still looks to me that the actual trial on the merits of the case, in which the prosecution, SafeSport, must meet its burden of proof with the independent, impartial adjudicator is the appeal, not the investigation.

                                    If I fail to respond to your posts in the future, it will be because I have blocked your posts and don’t see them. I obviously don’t have the self-control to see them and not respond.

                                    Comment


                                    • Originally posted by YankeeDuchess View Post

                                      After an investigation run by SafeSport, in which SafeSport gathers evidence and interviews witnesses on both sides, SafeSport then issues its determination that they have found “credible allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor” BEFORE they are required to establish to an independent arbitrator by a preponderance of the evidence that the violation occurred.

                                      You’re right that NEITHER side presents evidence before an independent arbitrator prior to the appeal. Prior to the appeal ONE of the two sides, SafeSport, makes a determination based on its assessment of its own investigation. Jeez.

                                      I have no problem with this. But it still looks to me that the actual trial on the merits of the case, in which the prosecution, SafeSport, must meet its burden of proof with the independent, impartial adjudicator is the appeal, not the investigation.

                                      If I fail to respond to your posts in the future, it will be because I have blocked your posts and don’t see them. I obviously don’t have the self-control to see them and not respond.
                                      So you want the case decided by arbitration not the investigation?

                                      I am trying to have a discussion with you about what exactly you would like to change and how. You accuse people of not wanting to discuss but when we express our opinions about why we disagree or ask for clarification and specifics on what you want to change and the reasoning behind it you refuse.

                                      Comment


                                      • Originally posted by YankeeDuchess View Post

                                        After an investigation run by SafeSport, in which SafeSport gathers evidence and interviews witnesses on both sides, SafeSport then issues its determination that they have found “credible allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor” BEFORE they are required to establish to an independent arbitrator by a preponderance of the evidence that the violation occurred.

                                        You’re right that NEITHER side presents evidence before an independent arbitrator prior to the appeal. Prior to the appeal ONE of the two sides, SafeSport, makes a determination based on its assessment of its own investigation. Jeez.

                                        I have no problem with this. But it still looks to me that the actual trial on the merits of the case, in which the prosecution, SafeSport, must meet its burden of proof with the independent, impartial adjudicator is the appeal, not the investigation.

                                        If I fail to respond to your posts in the future, it will be because I have blocked your posts and don’t see them. I obviously don’t have the self-control to see them and not respond.
                                        True. The police investigate and they determine if there was a crime committed. Then they arrest someone. There is not an independent person that looks at it. In real life, people are arrested and thrown in jail and sometimes denied bail before they have had what you keep stating is a chance to present evidence in front of an independent person. Sometimes they commit suicide as they sit in jail waiting to tell their story to the "independent person". Why does SafeSport have to behave differently?
                                        Last edited by Keep it Simple; Aug. 27, 2019, 02:33 PM.

                                        Comment


                                        • Originally posted by Sticky Situation View Post
                                          And again, my concern is not over the comfort of people who earn themselves a SafeSport ban. It's over the use of arguments that make it seem like a SafeSport ban is just an inconvenience that otherwise allows the banned individual to continue with business as usual.
                                          I believe that the argument 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" was offered as an explanation for why SafeSport did not operate, and does not need to operate, using the same rules and practices as the criminal justice system.

                                          Getting banned by SafeSport is indeed a big deal. If it wasn't, people wouldn't have a meltdown over BNTs getting banned. But, it's an administrative action taken by an extra-judicial body, not a legal judgement made by a court. Thus the different policies and procedures of the process.
                                          "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                                          that's even remotely true."

                                          Homer Simpson

                                          Comment

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