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Safesport - Aiding and Abetting

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  • Safesport - Aiding and Abetting

    There has been a lot of discussion on social media (mostly fb) regarding aiding and abetting which has raised a lot of questions. I have included the Safesport Policy on Aiding and Abetting below for reference.

    E. AIDING AND ABETTING

    Aiding and Abetting is any act taken with the purpose of facilitating, promoting, or encouraging the commission of Prohibited Conduct by a Participant. Aiding and Abetting also includes, without limitation, knowingly:
    1. Allowing any person who has been identified as suspended or otherwise ineligible by the Center to be in any way associated with or employed by an organization affiliated with or holding itself out as affiliated with an NGB, LAO, the USOC or the Olympic Movement;
    2. Allowing any person who has been identified as suspended or otherwise ineligible by the Center to coach or instruct Participants;
    3. Allowing any person who has been identified as ineligible by the Center to have ownership interest in a facility, an organization, or its related entities, if that facility/organization/related entity is affiliated with or holds itself out as affiliated with an NGB, LAO, USOC or the Olympic Movement;
    4. Providing any coaching-related advice or service to an Athlete who has been identified as suspended or otherwise ineligible by the Center;
    5. Allowing any person to violate the terms of their suspension or any other sanctions imposed by the Center;
    6. In addition, a Participant also violates this Policy if someone acts on behalf of the Participant to engage in Aiding or Abetting, or if the guardian, family member, or advisor of a Participant, including Minor Participants, engages in Aiding or Abetting.

    My questions:

    1. Allowing any person who has been identified as suspended or otherwise ineligible by the Center to be in any way associated with or employed by an organization affiliated with or holding itself out as affiliated with an NGB, LAO, the USOC or the Olympic Movement;

    I understand this to mean that a sanctioned member can not be a member of USEF and/or their affiliated organizations (local Hunter Jumper groups that fall under the USEF umbrella). Does this also mean that they are to ensure these individuals are not participating in any way in their group's activities? If an affiliated association is holding an event, but it is not a USEF rated event, are they to ensure sanctioned individuals are not participating, involved with, or attending?

    2. Allowing any person who has been identified as suspended or otherwise ineligible by the Center to coach or instruct Participants;

    Does this mean that USEF members and/or trainers are to ensure that they are not allowing or promoting sanctioned individuals to coach or instruct (paid or unpaid) themselves, or other USEF members (students) in general, even on their own property?

    5. Allowing any person to violate the terms of their suspension or any other sanctions imposed by the Center;

    What exactly does this encompass? Does this include watching sanctioned individuals violate their sanctions and not reporting it? Does this include having sanctioned individuals perform services at events, or be on the grounds of events that are USEF rated, or local hunter jumper events, or USEF barn member / trainers hosted events; hiring for any type of service that involves them in any sort of event mentioned above (therapeutic services, equipment or horse hauling, attending social events, attending gatherings, after hours, on show grounds (campsites, accommodations on-site)?


    Does anyone have any knowledge of this happening with sanctioned individuals? Are there members, trainers, affiliate organizations that are "aiding and abetting" sanctioned individuals?


    Have any complaints been made for aiding and abetting and has it resulted in someone being sanctioned for aiding and abetting a sanctioned individual?


    What happens if USEF members and/or trainers who continue to do business (paid or unpaid) with sanctioned individuals and place other USEF members in a position where they are unknowingly aiding and abetting (specifically thinking this would apply to anyone allowing a sanctioned individual to provide any services (therapeutic services, hauling horses to USEF events or local HJ association events that fall under the USEF umbrella, provide coaching and or instruction from a sanctioned individual (paid or unpaid) where people may not know someone has been sanctioned).


    Does horse training and sales fall into this at all? Can a sanctioned individual have horses for sale at USEF rated shows, or local HJ association shows that fall under the USEF umbrella? It's clear that Owners, who are sanctioned, are not allowed to have horses attend sanctioned events, but what about 3rd party "brokers" or sellers listing horses in someone else's name to get around the rules for owners. What about horses that are owned by multiple parties, where one party is sanctioned - how is that being addressed?


    How far down the line does this go with affiliated organizations and how would one prove any of these actions are taking place?


    Are there other scenarios that anyone has seen happen with sanctioned individuals that are questionable as to being allowed or not and what steps have they taken (if any) to try and enforce and abide by Safesport policy?


    How are affiliate clubs and horseshow management dealing with these situations? Are they finding it manageable or is it creating situations where they are spending an inordinate amount of time dealing with sanctioned individuals?

  • #2
    There have been so few suspensions relative to the population that I wonder if this has come up yet?

    Penalties enacted by USEF could only involve suspending violators from showing.

    Comment


    • #3
      Have you contacted the center for SafeSport to ask these questions? I’d rather hear their direct reply than have a bunch of people who have no clue, or their own made up version of what it means, creating a lot of misinformation. There’s enough misinformation already running around.

      Comment


      • #4
        Unless something has changed, the USEF has a long-standing registration loophole that has been used for a long time to allow BNR/BNT/BNOs to work the system and banned individuals probably use it too, hiding behind business names and Bahamian LLCs and shell companies. Because of the way things work, you have to provide - at your own expense and peril - incontrovertible proof that a banned individual is associated with whatever entity is listed as the owner at any given time and it is next-to-impossible to do that with the means by which the people who want to hide their involvement can hide their involvement. I won't name names, but there's a BNR/BNT/BNO whom I know from my own chronological checking/cross-referencing the available competition and ownership records, has been swapping ownership registrations, allowing the former owner/co-owner to judge the horse in the ring under their rider ownership, giving their horse high marks in one or more high-level competitions, and then transferring it back to the judge-owners at a later date, for resale at a high price or whatever goes on between seasons. All 100% legal, but 100% under-handed.
        Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by equestrian_mom View Post


          Have any complaints been made for aiding and abetting and has it resulted in someone being sanctioned for aiding and abetting a sanctioned individual?


          I has been done in other sports. The U.S. Center for SafeSport suspended a taekwondo coach who helped her husband evade a lifetime ban for sexual misconduct by taking formal ownership of their gym and representing their club at meets sanctioned by USA Taekwondo.


          https://www.gamebreakingnews.net/201...-lifetime-ban/

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by Tackpud View Post
            Have you contacted the center for SafeSport to ask these questions? I’d rather hear their direct reply than have a bunch of people who have no clue, or their own made up version of what it means, creating a lot of misinformation. There’s enough misinformation already running around.
            It is clear from Safesport what the rules are. What is not clear is public awareness, public perception on what goes against Safesport policy and how people will feel about reporting people who continue to allow sanctioned individuals to violate their sanctions.

            My questions are meant to encourage discussion amongst USEF members and everyone else, to become more aware of what is considered prohibited conduct and to bring it to the attention of people who are continuing to involve sanctioned individuals in activities that fall under USEF.

            I think it is safe to assume that parents, minors and many USEF members are not aware who has been sanctioned (unless they are popular enough to have hit social media) and could be aiding and abetting and not even know.

            As Keep it Simple mentioned in this string, a Taekwondo coach was suspended for helping her husband evade his sanctions. Taken from the article "USA TODAY reported last week that Gerald Murphy continued coaching at the same gym in Tallahassee, Fla., even after USA Taekwondo banned him in early 2014. He did that with the help of Gale Murphy, his wife and another coach at the school."

            Are we seeing the same thing happen with sanctioned individuals in equestrian sport?

            Comment


            • #7
              The SafeSport rules are a notch above the rules that USEF has that were in place for cases like the horse killings and are invoked every month for drug-related suspensions. First, because the SafeSport language is more explicit; second, because the sanctions come from SafeSport not USEF; third, because the SafeSport rulings are explicitly and specifically about athlete protection, not about an administrative rule violation or even unfair competition.

              Because the suspension is explicitly about protecting athletes from someone who has been determined to pose a threat, and also because this case is a permanent ineligibility, it's likely that SafeSport will be fairly aggressive in enforcing this rule. Probably not with Permanent Ineligibility, but with some of the lesser sanctions they have in their arsenal. GM is not the first Olympic coach they've dealt with. And surely they know they will be setting a tone here that will establish expectations for all future cases in Equestrian.

              Let's step back for a moment and consider the reason for this rule. A huge scandal in the sexual abuse by Catholic priests wasn't just the abuse, but that the Church had a routine practice of simply reassigning accused priests to new locations where they weren't known, and frequently that meant new victims in the new place. We have seen the same in athletics. Conrad Mainwaring's story in track and field is one I've shared before. If a swimming coach was fired because he displayed inappropriate behavior towards young swimmers, it's not okay with any of us for him to move to a new place and start over with new swimmers. SafeSport was explicitly created to stop that kind of migration that continually put athletes at risk. When athletes are harmed, the whole sport is harmed.

              For any athlete that is looking to make a Team, working with a banned coach is going to be a pretty easy reason to leave them off. For someone like Richard Callaghan in figure skating, that's a pretty big factor. In Equestrian, we maybe have more athletes who aren't thinking about Team selection any time soon who nevertheless wish elite level coaching, so there will be more of a market, still, for a coach in that situation.

              SafeSport has made the determination that they don't believe it's safe for athletes to take instruction from GM. Therefore, if you create a situation where you help him do so - hold a clinic, for example - you are also putting athletes at risk.

              The other group that really doesn't like athletes at risk is insurance companies. I expect them to have a say in this as well.
              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


              • #8
                Well I certainly wouldn't want a suspended individual on my (fictional) showgrounds or giving a clinic at my facility b/c I think you're opening yourself to a world of liability if another incident were to occur. So say I have a clinician in who has been setdown/suspended for life. If I have a clinic and ANY untoward act were to occur btwn that person and a clinic participant - my guess is that I would be on the hook for said participant to sue ME as well as clinician since I knew of prior conviction. Same as hosting a show and allowing a suspended trainer to bring his/her students, even if unnrated. Just my thoughts - I'm not a lawyer but I certainly think the risk would outweigh any benefit.
                Last edited by nycjumper; Nov. 22, 2019, 01:05 PM.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by poltroon View Post
                  The SafeSport rules are a notch above the rules that USEF has that were in place for cases like the horse killings and are invoked every month for drug-related suspensions. First, because the SafeSport language is more explicit; second, because the sanctions come from SafeSport not USEF; third, because the SafeSport rulings are explicitly and specifically about athlete protection, not about an administrative rule violation or even unfair competition.

                  Because the suspension is explicitly about protecting athletes from someone who has been determined to pose a threat, and also because this case is a permanent ineligibility, it's likely that SafeSport will be fairly aggressive in enforcing this rule. Probably not with Permanent Ineligibility, but with some of the lesser sanctions they have in their arsenal. GM is not the first Olympic coach they've dealt with. And surely they know they will be setting a tone here that will establish expectations for all future cases in Equestrian.

                  Let's step back for a moment and consider the reason for this rule. A huge scandal in the sexual abuse by Catholic priests wasn't just the abuse, but that the Church had a routine practice of simply reassigning accused priests to new locations where they weren't known, and frequently that meant new victims in the new place. We have seen the same in athletics. Conrad Mainwaring's story in track and field is one I've shared before. If a swimming coach was fired because he displayed inappropriate behavior towards young swimmers, it's not okay with any of us for him to move to a new place and start over with new swimmers. SafeSport was explicitly created to stop that kind of migration that continually put athletes at risk. When athletes are harmed, the whole sport is harmed.

                  For any athlete that is looking to make a Team, working with a banned coach is going to be a pretty easy reason to leave them off. For someone like Richard Callaghan in figure skating, that's a pretty big factor. In Equestrian, we maybe have more athletes who aren't thinking about Team selection any time soon who nevertheless wish elite level coaching, so there will be more of a market, still, for a coach in that situation.

                  SafeSport has made the determination that they don't believe it's safe for athletes to take instruction from GM. Therefore, if you create a situation where you help him do so - hold a clinic, for example - you are also putting athletes at risk.

                  The other group that really doesn't like athletes at risk is insurance companies. I expect them to have a say in this as well.
                  Thank you! I had not even given thought to the insurance aspect.

                  I am not sure about other sports, but with equestrians, I am concerned that we are protecting the athletes at one end of the sport but leaving those that participate at the "grass root" level (riding establishments and horse shows that are not affiliated with USEF) at risk. Many of those young riders and their parents do not even know USEF and Safesport exist, never mind if the person they are training with has been sanctioned and pose a risk, and that is where we are seeing sanctioned individuals migrate to.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    This is an interesting topic, and I really think USEF and Safe Sport are going to have a lot of tough, sports specific types of issues related to this “aiding and abetting” aspect of the regulations.

                    The insurance question in particular triggered my memory about s few articles I read during the summer related to USA Gymnastics, and the infamous John Geddert. He was banned pending resolution or something, then announced his “retirement” and supposedly one of his Twistars gyms to his sister in law. Shortly thereafter, news broke of a settlement with a group f victims which maxed out his gyms prior nsurance policy. I haven’t followed recent news... but I think the whole thing is STILL being investigated, now at a federal level by the DOJ, because there is something to the whole sale of the gym that seems to be an attempt to limit financial exposure for Geddert... and also amounts to a work around with respect to the ban on him. Apparently as of summer, gymnasts who had been associated with that gym were NOT being welcomed to train with other gyms in the area, and there were allegations that Geddert was still exerting influence behind the scenes in the gymnastics community, and gymnasts trying to leave the program supposedly now belonging to the sister in law were being blackballed by the rest of the community... because of fear of Geddert.

                    So that seems like some serious aiding and abetting on the part of the sister in law. It’s also going to be a case one way or another that might bring the whole Safe Sport issue into CLOSE focus for insurance companies. I would wonder how the sister in law could even obtain much coverage, given her relationship with Geddert, and the payout that just happened. Crazy.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      As far as sanctioned individuals on the USEF list migrating to the grassroots level of the sport... it is indeed a concern. Case in point, Tom Navarro. It’s been discussed on other threads. But honestly... parents need to research this stuff! Google isn’t that hard.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        There's no protection or certification at the grassroots level in riding. I don't for a minute think that inappropriate behaviour only occurs in sanctioned sport.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          This is one of the areas where there are a lot of differences sport to sport.

                          In many, maybe most, of the Olympic sports, the grassroots training centers are members of the national organization, or they tend to be part of other entities. The gym I took my daughter to for gymnastics when she was 5 is a member of USA Gymnastics. Grassroots in other sports is often through schools, which have their own anti-abuse provisions and oversight.

                          In Equestrian this is not the case and indeed you can compete for a long time on the local level without needing to join USEF or show in its member shows.

                          That said, I think the idea of the rule is sound. And at least someone teaching on the local level won't be viewed as untouchable by local authorities. Our work is to make it better in every way we can, making the holes smaller and smaller, rather than giving up because it's too hard to try.
                          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


                          • #14
                            Oh they're already talking about dropping the usef and starting their own circuit, not subject to Safe Sport. I quipped it would be the pedophile protectionist circuit. Or perhaps just pedophile sympathizer circuit? No one laughed.

                            These bnt's have zero experience in the real world. Sincerely pathetic.
                            Power to the People

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Sswor View Post
                              Oh they're already talking about dropping the usef and starting their own circuit, not subject to Safe Sport. I quipped it would be the pedophile protectionist circuit. Or perhaps just pedophile sympathizer circuit? No one laughed.

                              These bnt's have zero experience in the real world. Sincerely pathetic.
                              They keep promising to do this but never do. I would literally give them a donation to found their own pedophile apologist and doping circuit.
                              Let me apologize in advance.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Sswor View Post

                                These bnt's have zero experience in the real world. Sincerely pathetic.
                                This is the problem. Equestrian sports have been living in their own world forever and many trainers have never held a job in the "real" world. They don't understand what a human resources department is for, they don't understand that businesses have standards, they don't understand that there are consequences to misbehavior - everyone just does what they want the way they learned it from someone else. That's why we have ridiculous commissions on horse sales, repeated drug infractions, and so much more behavior that would never be condoned in a "real" business. Now they're being drug into reality and they're kicking and screaming as loudly as they can that it doesn't pertain to them and they're above any rules and regulations.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Sswor View Post
                                  Oh they're already talking about dropping the usef and starting their own circuit, not subject to Safe Sport. I quipped it would be the pedophile protectionist circuit. Or perhaps just pedophile sympathizer circuit? No one laughed.

                                  These bnt's have zero experience in the real world. Sincerely pathetic.
                                  They don't understand they will still have to follow the SafeSport policy and procedures. Camps, pony club, etc all have to follow it. Plus as a intrastate activity it falls under SS. They think thry are special and entitled and don't need to follow the guidelines that actually are in place to protect both child and adult. These are not punishments, they are common sense guidelines that many people follow in their professions.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Keep it Simple View Post

                                    They don't understand they will still have to follow the SafeSport policy and procedures. Camps, pony club, etc all have to follow it. Plus as a intrastate activity it falls under SS. They think thry are special and entitled and don't need to follow the guidelines that actually are in place to protect both child and adult. These are not punishments, they are common sense guidelines that many people follow in their professions.
                                    I thought it was just Olympic sports. Or sport NGB's with a path to the Olympics. Pony club and camps? You sure? I thought there was talk that the grass roots organizations were not subject to Safe Sport.

                                    Edit--I agree. Further, these are guidelines designed to protect professionals from potential false allegations that many are screaming that they could become victim of. Don't be alone with a kid that isn't yours. Don't have private conversations with a kid that isn't yours. Yet they complain that these guidelines are so unreasonable, so unfair.
                                    Power to the People

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
                                      There's no protection or certification at the grassroots level in riding. I don't for a minute think that inappropriate behaviour only occurs in sanctioned sport.
                                      Yes, but that was well beside the point that was being made in this context and with respect to "grass roots" riding. Rather, the point was that a low level, non-showing barn who, somehow got a clinic date with Morris would be exposing itself (most likely unknowingly) should Morris find himself accused and sued for illicit behavior. The barn owner would be named in that suit as well because he/she brought a banned individual in to teach. if the BO is a member of the USEF, then she would be afoul of the prohibition of Aiding and Abetting banned people. OP, did I read that right?

                                      So SafeSport reaches only as far as the USEF does. If the BO is not a member of the USEF, she could still be named in a lawsuit, but the SafeSport Aiding and Abetting rule is not one that she would be said to violate because she's not a member of any organization it oversees.


                                      If I were the BO in this hot mess, getting some kind of fine from the USEF would be the least of my problems. If I were not a member of the USEF and celebrated because I wasn't subject to the rules that would have prevented me from hiring Morris, the party wound end when i found myself explaining to a jury the merits of my having chosen to go outside the NGB of my sport to hire someone they had banned.
                                      The armchair saddler
                                      Politically Pro-Cat

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by mvp View Post

                                        Yes, but that was well beside the point that was being made in this context and with respect to "grass roots" riding. Rather, the point was that a low level, non-showing barn who, somehow got a clinic date with Morris would be exposing itself (most likely unknowingly) should Morris find himself accused and sued for illicit behavior. The barn owner would be named in that suit as well because he/she brought a banned individual in to teach. if the BO is a member of the USEF, then she would be afoul of the prohibition of Aiding and Abetting banned people. OP, did I read that right?

                                        So SafeSport reaches only as far as the USEF does. If the BO is not a member of the USEF, she could still be named in a lawsuit, but the SafeSport Aiding and Abetting rule is not one that she would be said to violate because she's not a member of any organization it oversees.


                                        If I were the BO in this hot mess, getting some kind of fine from the USEF would be the least of my problems. If I were not a member of the USEF and celebrated because I wasn't subject to the rules that would have prevented me from hiring Morris, the party wound end when i found myself explaining to a jury the merits of my having chosen to go outside the NGB of my sport to hire someone they had banned.
                                        You did a better job than I have so far of bringing the BO angle into focus with respect to aiding and abetting.

                                        I brought up the John Geddert situation, his now disbanded Gym that his sister in law bought, Twistars, the insurance payout to the Nassar victims, and USA Gymnastics also getting swept up in it all... because I think that is a VERY relevant case. This is how aiding and abetting a known abuser can play out in the real world, where victims get lawyers and insurance companies have to pay big settlements, and governing bodies of sports who did turn a blind eye get caught up in lawsuits and almost decertified (these are ongoing issues for USA Gymnastics, but bankruptcy and decertification are very real risks).

                                        It’s all a VERY cautionary tale that folks in our sport would do well to pay attention to. IMMEDIATELY.

                                        I went back and looked up recent reports on it, and the best I found was published by ESPN in April of this year. But I still can’t post links from my account here... maybe someone else can.

                                        Anyway, in a nutshell, USA Gymnastics was on the verge of permanently banning Geddert in early 2018, when he announced his “retirement.” The Nassar victims were dealing with all sorts of legal stuff that year, , and lawsuits were flying all around. In early 2019, it was announced that Geddert’s gym, Twistars, Inc, had been sold to ... his sister in law. But he’s “retired” and the way she is running matters is TOTALLY different. Ok. Whatever - who knows. I certainly don’t. But it sure seems like BS. Anyway, shortly thereafter, a settlement was reached between attorneys representing 200 Nassar victims, and the now non-existent (in the legal and financial sense) Twistars, Inc.

                                        Guess what? The settlement was for the maximum allowable under the Twistars Inc insurance policy - about $2.1 million. But there were over 200 gymnasts who were victims. So that’s actually not much... at all. By way of comparison... when the group of victims sued Michigan State University for covering up the Nassar issue and ignoring reports and turning turning a blind eye... the award was reportedly almost $500 million.

                                        So so shortly after the settlement was reached, the lawyers for the victims announced that they would be joining lawsuits, and going after USA Gymnastics itself. And USA Gymnastics is at very real risk of bankruptcy given the situation... and it’s an ongoing complicated ugly thing.

                                        As for Gedderts sister in law running that gym? As Irmtioned in the other post, it is rumored that they are keeping gymnasts as clients simply by virtue of intimidation tactics within the Gymnastics community. Time will tell, but at present it does not appear that the attempt to start fresh at this gym is succeeding.

                                        So so how might these events influence our sport?

                                        A number of ways.

                                        Here’s one HYPOTHETICAL scenario...

                                        Let’s say prominent barn owner and Hunter Jumper world royalty “Jane Doe” decides to host GM clinics, regardless of the SS ban. Because no one tells Jane who she can - and can’t - associate with. Let’s say she does this in the spring and fall, for a few years. And some clients come and participate, and feel great because they stood up to USEF and SafeSport. No one tells the people what they can, and can’t do!

                                        Other clients, who really like Jane and the barn, but are not comfortable with this insanity, just keep their mouths shut and skip it. Except for one. One is pissed. But doesn’t want themself or their kid to be blackballed in hunter world. So that person secretly makes a few phone calls to a few people. Who call other people. And then guess what?

                                        Jane gets a call from her insurance provider telling her that they are dropping her. Immediately. And Jane calls around... and no one else wants to offer her any sort of policy either.

                                        Because that’s how things work in the real world. Jane is knowingly engaging in risky behavior at her farm with her clients... and no insurance company in their right mind wants to insure that.

                                        Maybe Jane Doe is independently wealthy and can afford to self insure. Maybe not. But she should pause before hosting big splashy clinics involving someone who was investigated and placed on the Safe Sport banned list and ask herself a few questions about whether or not this is really worth it...

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