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George Morris on the SS list

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  • The clause about coaching USEF members seems largely unenforceable to me. It is unfortunate, because then what do those sanctions mean? But I think speculation about repercussions for USEF members who choose to train with a SS banned trainer/coach are speculative and premature. When someone gets banned for privately lessoning or clinicing (sp?) then we can wring our hands (or not!)... but we have seen time and again supposedly banned individuals (for other reasons) operate despite the bans.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by wannabedvm View Post

      Yes, it is. But it’s also stupid to punish USEF members who take lessons with him, for several reasons: 1) In some circumstances that could come down to punishing victims. 2) If the only connection between someone taking a lesson with George and USEF is that the person is a USEF member...I just think that’s overstepping. By that logic, USEF could ban a USEF member for doing anything USEF doesn’t like. Punishing (I’m assuming banning) someone for taking lessons with a person not associated with USEF seems like something they have no business doing. Let the angry masses deal with people who still support these people.

      Don’t get me wrong; I understand why they want to have rule—it just doesn’t seem like the best way to effectuate their goals.
      1. If you have been preyed upon sexually by Morris and then continue to pay him for lessons, that's not "punishment," that's masochism or stupidity or Stockholm Syndrome. I think it's fine for the USEF to "suggest" via this policy that you not stick your hand back in the proverbial meat grinder that cut you yesterday. But I am sure you are right: Folks who want to ignore the ban will, After all Paul Valliere has a farm in Grand Prix Village in Wellington. There is precedent for USEF bans not stopping trainers from continuing in their industry.

      2. The USEF cannot ban someone for merely "doing something the USEF doesn't like." Or rather, it can, because it's a private club. But just what will get you banned is usually obvious to anyone who wishes to stay in its good graces. And I'd be OK with the USEF (perhaps inheriting the limit from SafeSport) taking away opportunities for sexual predation and an avenue to financial success that includes that.

      We are not at the top of some slippery slope of the USEF becoming capricious and arbitrary such that it effectively holds the keys to someone's livelihood in it's grasp and, in a rather McCarthy-esque style, will start really messing with peoples lives for unfair and hard-to-fathom reasons. Rather, II think your arguments are straw men. Moreover, I'll wager that you knew that before you trotted them out since, really, in the fullness of time we really haven't seen the USEF be particularly exclusive and droves of people being excommunicated for small or idiosyncratic reasons.
      The armchair saddler
      Politically Pro-Cat

      Comment


      • Originally posted by wannabedvm View Post

        Yes, it is. But it’s also stupid to punish USEF members who take lessons with him, for several reasons: 1) In some circumstances that could come down to punishing victims. 2) If the only connection between someone taking a lesson with George and USEF is that the person is a USEF member...I just think that’s overstepping. By that logic, USEF could ban a USEF member for doing anything USEF doesn’t like. Punishing (I’m assuming banning) someone for taking lessons with a person not associated with USEF seems like something they have no business doing. Let the angry masses deal with people who still support these people.

        Don’t get me wrong; I understand why they want to have rule—it just doesn’t seem like the best way to effectuate their goals.
        Remember it is a SafeSport rule, not a USEF rule.

        It doesn’t matter if you are participating in equestrian sports, youth baseball, swimming, or sailing. If you are banned by SafeSport, you are not allowed to earn a living off your NGB. In an attempt to enforce that, the aiding & abetting clause exists.

        We’ve seen how willfully naive people can be in these situations when an esteemed member of the community has allegations of sexual misconduct brought against them.
        Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

        Comment


        • Originally posted by mvp View Post

          1. If you have been preyed upon sexually by Morris and then continue to pay him for lessons, that's not "punishment," that's masochism or stupidity or Stockholm Syndrome.
          Wow, I think you clearly lack an understanding of what victims can go through in these situations. This is dangerously close to victim blaming. And, if it is “Stockholm Syndrome,” they deserve to be banned? No—they need psychological help. And they might not be “pay[ing] him” for lessons—there’s no requirement that money be exchanged, AFAIK.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by wannabedvm View Post

            Wow, I think you clearly lack an understanding of what victims can go through in these situations. This is dangerously close to victim blaming. And, if it is “Stockholm Syndrome,” they deserve to be banned? No—they need psychological help. And they might not be “pay[ing] him” for lessons—there’s no requirement that money be exchanged, AFAIK.
            Yeah, I'll double-down on that. Taking a riding lesson from someone who has sexually harassed you is optional. And it's really optional in 2019, post-MeToo movement and thanks to SafeSport and others outting sexual predation for what it is.

            You will not find me defending a thesis that the USEF ought not to ban sexual predators because someone wants to take a riding lesson from them. After all, your point was not initially about sympathy for victims (beyond your vague, perhaps pro forma, lament that the USEF "ought to do something.... just not this). It was about a downside to banning someone like Morris.

            And I'll double down again on the idea that it's far better to out and ban a guy like that, at the expense of someone who wants to take a riding lesson from him, than to give him just a light, toothless slap on the wrist and let everyone know that business-as-usual (including sexual predation) stands.

            If you don't think *that* laissez-faire stance by the governing body of an organization doesn't contribute to the further victimizations of survivors of sexual abuse, then I'd submit that you don't know as much as you should. But any of us can see that if we just learn a little bit about how US Gymnastics worked, or how the justice system has worked for decades. And not for nuthin, but this is why SafeSport was created and is now occupies the position and roll it does: Because governing bodies of sports and the justice system had both failed.

            Before you accuse me of venturing anywhere near "victim blaming," I suggest you re-read my posts on this thread, or anywhere. I don't think my record of writing on this issue supports your accusation.
            The armchair saddler
            Politically Pro-Cat

            Comment


            • Perhaps if this needs to continue, a spin off thread can be created. With 300k+ views and 3487 posts, going back to see what’s already been brought up and discussed at length the old ‘read the thread” advice doesn’t work.
              When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

              The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

              Comment


              • The whole point of a Safe Sport sanction is to eliminate the access the person has to the population they victimized. It is not a competition sanction like for example a D&M suspension.

                Comment


                • OK... popping back up here, after a mental health hiatus from these discussions

                  These are really challenging threads for many of us.

                  I’d respectfully like to dial back discussion a bit from notions of Stockholm syndrome, people being willfully naive, etc. But delve into the topic of penalties for USEF members who continue to choose to associate with banned members who are on the Safe Sport list.

                  I think that USEF enforcing the prohibition on USEF members taking lessons from or clinicing with banned members is necessary. I don’t think punishments should be as onerous as the lifetime bans handed out to abusers themselves... but perhaps temporary suspensions of a limited duration, or fines, or some combination thereof. I also think publishing names of people who are violating Safe Sport rules with respect to banned individuals is something to consider. It’s published when folks get temporary suspensions and sanctions for other violations... this should be no different.

                  I will pause here to say that in real life, I am a generally libertarian oriented sort of individual. I am predisposed to take the “less regulation” side of most debates, and to regard governments and governing bodies with a heaping dose of suspicion and cynicism. I am not a “witch-hunt” sort of person... and I do have a respect for and concern about due process. I’m not a lawyer... others who are do a MUCH better argument of presenting the legal issues involved in all this. But I am willing to state that I do indeed understand the arguments that many of the Safe Sport Reform crowd are making.

                  However... I find those arguments inappropriate to apply in this situation. I support Safe Sport.

                  A major reason for my lack of sympathy in all the “no due process” and “unfair regulatory overreach” arguments has to do with the manner in which the GM case in particular has played out in our community. It has highlighted in a MAJOR way the competitive sports culture problem we have with respect to sexual abuse that involves a “hero.” An Olympian. A Gold medal winning athlete and coach, Jimmy Williams was one thing... it was a shocking and sad thing when the NYT article came out and people began talking publicly. But he had been gone for many years. The people who adamantly defended him were a small personally connected circle. It wasn’t as challenging to explain away, and quietly ignore those struggling with JW’s abuse being made public. GM is still very much alive. The personal circle who has formed around him has mobilized, and has drawn in more and more people. The number of folks who are publicly part of ISWG? It’s really stunning. I wish this was about Stockholm Syndrome or folks being willfully naive. But it’s not. This is about folks wanting to align with someone powerful and very successful in the sport. And folks are willing to publicly engage in callous and hostile public debate in order to show their support for this hero. Arguments about due process and unfair regulatory overreach could be applied to any number of other names on the banned list. But GM is the person with thousands of supporters. That’s about hero worship. And the hero is widely reputed to be a child predator... and a formal Safe Sport investigation has apparently substantiated that.

                  I’m really tired of seeing arguments about how the “evidence” against GM is from 40 years ago, etc etc. People have whispered about this stuff with him for YEARS. EVERYONE has heard about it for YEARS. Very few are saying “he didn’t do it.” Very few think Soresi is the only victim. It’s a very sad situation all around... he’s an old man now. But he needs to be gone from our sport, and the culture needs to change. We need to focus on other heroes... seriously! There are a truly SAD number of silent victims of many abusers - both young and old - male and female - gay and straight - watching this whole thing play out. The vocal people in the ISWG group, and those who ranted on Facebook following RGs ban? It’s intimidating, and disheartening, and hostile. The discussion needs to change... and move FORWARD. The sport needs to move FORWARD.

                  Along those lines... if USEF does actually follow through with sanctions for folks who continue to support banned individuals like GM (meaning utilize banned individuals as trainers, pay to clinic with them, and host them as a clinician at their facility) MANY silent victims who are part of the community will SEE that. It will mean something to the silent victims. It will be a sign that our organization really DOES take a stand AGAINST this behavior. I think that’s important. It is part of a healing process as a community... a part of REAL change. I understand that there are big names who are still vocally supporting GM... but his clinics need to stop. Ranting on Facebook is ugly. Hosting clinics, and paying to attend and participate in GM clinics? That’s against the rules for USEF members. It’s an obvious issue, and the rules need to be enforced.

                  Yeah... I know this is all legally messy and will be ugly in terms of application. But enforcing the ban on GM in particular is an important line in the sand that USEF needs to draw if the culture is really going to change. Everyone knows it.

                  Comment


                  • If someone is found guilty of a Safe Sport violation, and they still are allowed access to members for teaching clinics, lessons, and other activities, then what is their penalty, and how is that keeping them away from vulnerable people? Letting someone who is found guilty by Safe Sport continue to compete, teach, or other activities would mean that there is no enforcement.
                    You can't fix stupid-Ron White

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by mvp View Post

                      Yeah, I'll double-down on that. Taking a riding lesson from someone who has sexually harassed you is optional. And it's really optional in 2019, post-MeToo movement and thanks to SafeSport and others outting sexual predation for what it is.

                      You will not find me defending a thesis that the USEF ought not to ban sexual predators because someone wants to take a riding lesson from them. After all, your point was not initially about sympathy for victims (beyond your vague, perhaps pro forma, lament that the USEF "ought to do something.... just not this). It was about a downside to banning someone like Morris.

                      And I'll double down again on the idea that it's far better to out and ban a guy like that, at the expense of someone who wants to take a riding lesson from him, than to give him just a light, toothless slap on the wrist and let everyone know that business-as-usual (including sexual predation) stands.

                      If you don't think *that* laissez-faire stance by the governing body of an organization doesn't contribute to the further victimizations of survivors of sexual abuse, then I'd submit that you don't know as much as you should. But any of us can see that if we just learn a little bit about how US Gymnastics worked, or how the justice system has worked for decades. And not for nuthin, but this is why SafeSport was created and is now occupies the position and roll it does: Because governing bodies of sports and the justice system had both failed.

                      Before you accuse me of venturing anywhere near "victim blaming," I suggest you re-read my posts on this thread, or anywhere. I don't think my record of writing on this issue supports your accusation.
                      You misunderstand my point entirely, and I don’t understand how. I’m not arguing that Morris shouldn’t be banned, not even close. I’m arguing that those who take lessons with him should not be banned solely because they have taken a lesson with him.

                      And if you don’t think this—“If you have been preyed upon sexually by Morris and then continue to pay him for lessons, that's not "punishment," that's masochism or stupidity”—is victim blaming, you’re wrong. Do you know how grooming works? Do you blame women who stay with their abusive partners, too?

                      Comment


                      • The Safesport rules require the arbitrator to issue a written decision within 7 days of the close of evidence, "unless otherwise agreed by the parties."

                        Comment


                        • Someone... correct me if I am wrong, but the penalties relating to the aiding and abetting clause do not amount to bans.

                          I did struggle through some of the Facebook comments on the Chronicle’s article - YIKES

                          One from Bonnie Navin did catch my eye. She seems to be asserting that any USEF member can take a lesson from and pay anyone they want to on their own property... the only limitation that applies is with respect to GM coaching actual riders at a USEF recognized event.

                          Is that accurate?

                          What about clinics? If the owner of a facility/farm is a USEF member, and either rides in recognizes competition, or coaches others who ride in recognized competitions... is it fine for them to publicly host a GM clinic at their own private facility? Or is that a violation of the “aiding and abetting” provision. Up to this point, I had assumed it would be a violation of that provision. Maybe I am the uneducated one on this matter though...

                          Honestly, if the clinics continue as usual, all of this really is not much more than a slap on the wrist for him.

                          Comment


                          • One of the big reasons SafeSport exists is to take this decision out of the hands of the people in sport who know a person or who have a vested interest in that person continuing to teach and train. Richard Callaghan has a similar profile in figure skating, trainer of multiple Olympic and World Champions. He also was permanently banned this summer, in part for abusing a 13 year old male student in the 1970s who came forward publicly, and in part due to testimony of multiple other more recent victims.

                            You can read more about it here: https://www.espn.com/olympics/figure...oach-callaghan

                            I can't imagine any of us would be upset that we can't send our children to Callaghan any longer and have them participate in figure skating.
                            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


                            • Originally posted by Horsegirl's Mom View Post
                              The Safesport rules require the arbitrator to issue a written decision within 7 days of the close of evidence, "unless otherwise agreed by the parties."
                              I don't know if "7 days" is calendar days or business days. From my experience, the decision from the arbitrator was received 8 calendar days after the hearing, 6 business days.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Keep it Simple View Post

                                I don't know if "7 days" is calendar days or business days. From my experience, the decision from the arbitrator was received 8 calendar days after the hearing, 6 business days.
                                Well, it does sound like there is quite a lot of leeway built in. If the arbitrator tells the parties s/he needs more time, I'm sure the parties would agree.

                                Comment


                                • It’s been 11-12 calendar days since the hearing. Hopefully they can figure this out soon.

                                  Diane Carney is the organizer of a GM clinic in Illinois starting on Nov. 29. According to his website and hers... it’s still on the schedule. Looking at his publicly available clinic schedule, it appears like there was an assumption he would prevail during the appeal, and he would be back to business as usual afterwards, with clinics at various farms. It will be interesting to see if clinic organizers attempt to go forward with scheduled dates... or announce a cancellation.

                                  Comment


                                  • Permanently banned: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/19/s...ual-abuse.html

                                    Comment


                                    • Originally posted by Virginia Horse Mom View Post
                                      Someone... correct me if I am wrong, but the penalties relating to the aiding and abetting clause do not amount to bans.

                                      I did struggle through some of the Facebook comments on the Chronicle’s article - YIKES

                                      One from Bonnie Navin did catch my eye. She seems to be asserting that any USEF member can take a lesson from and pay anyone they want to on their own property... the only limitation that applies is with respect to GM coaching actual riders at a USEF recognized event.

                                      Is that accurate?

                                      What about clinics? If the owner of a facility/farm is a USEF member, and either rides in recognizes competition, or coaches others who ride in recognized competitions... is it fine for them to publicly host a GM clinic at their own private facility? Or is that a violation of the “aiding and abetting” provision. Up to this point, I had assumed it would be a violation of that provision. Maybe I am the uneducated one on this matter though...

                                      Honestly, if the clinics continue as usual, all of this really is not much more than a slap on the wrist for him.
                                      https://www.usef.org/forms-pubs/YXj0...e-sport-policy

                                      From what is written on pg. 16, it doesn’t look like BN is stating the policy correctly. (big shocker)

                                      However, I suspect USEF/SS is unlikely to enforce the policy verbatim- there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I imagine there is a lot of leeway or maybe verbal warnings at most, with action being reserved for the most egregious situations or considered when other allegations are made.

                                      Especially since there are a number of permanently ineligible trainers who seem to still blatantly own and operate training facilities. (MS, TN, RC, etc.) I can’t imagine they avoid all business dealings with USEF members.
                                      Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

                                      Comment


                                      • None of this makes anyone happy. No one wants to consider that an icon of the sport acted inappropriately let alone worse. I trust that the investigations were thorough and that the appeal was as well.

                                        So GM has a choice now. He can continue to offer public clinics in a big FU headache to everyone at USEF and the whole sport... or he can decide that at 81 it's a good time to retire.
                                        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


                                        • Curious if Tryon eq center took his name off the stadium?

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