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Tommy Serio back on Safe Sport list

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  • #81
    Originally posted by Mara View Post
    Honest question here. Please don't assume I am siding with AFE or ISWG, because nothing could be further from the truth.

    SafeSport's original intent is to protect minors involved in sports from being preyed upon/bullied/otherwise abused by coaches/mentors/sponsors, etc. Correct?

    So why do they get involved in cases where BOTH parties are legal adults? Yes, I get the point about power imbalances, and for the record I find such behavior unethical and reprehensible on the part of the one wielding the power. But this kind of exploitation isn't limited to the equestrian realm or even athletics in general. It's not against the law to date your employee or client, although many businesses do have firm rules prohibiting such.

    Can anyone elaborate?
    This is a fair point.

    I think a careful look at what happened with USA Gymnastics which gave rise to SafeSport is really informative.

    Bottom line, many of the critics of SafeSport that I DO actually think are worth listening closely to have made the case that the law was ACTUALLY about shielding any number of NGBs related to Olympic Sports and the Olympic movement from a flood of lawsuits that threaten to bankrupt MANY.

    If the law had stopped short at child abuse, but remained totally silent when it comes to other abusive conduct that happens in the workplace ALL THE TIME, and can easily result in a lawsuit against an employer that fails to have policies and procedures in place to protect employees and clients from such conduct...

    well...

    SafeSport might not be very effective in terms of mitigating lawsuit risk that a NUMBER of NGBs across a NUMBER of Olympic Sports had been turning a blind eye toward for YEARS as they all went about focusing on being successful in sport first and foremost... above all other welfare concerns.

    I hope that makes some sense. Those who compare SafeSport to an HR department with a corporation handing out employee handbooks, codes of conduct, and advising people that they can and will be disciplined or fired if they violate the code of conduct with respect to sexual harassment, physical abuse, sexual abuse, etc etc? That’s a good comparison. The motivation for most companies when doing this is only PARTIALLY about taking a stand against sexual harassment. It also is VERY MUCH about demonstrating that the corporation does have policies and procedures related to these issues, so that if someone is harassed or abused at work by their boss, it’s that much harder for them to sue the corporation for millions because the corporation was negligent in terms of having protections of any kind in place, and willfully turning a blind eye.

    Many professionals in the horse world are having a very hard time dealing with this really basic component of the modern employment environment. It’s not just about abusing minors, it’s also about implementing HR practices across recognized sport, and mitigating lawsuit risks.
    Last edited by Virginia Horse Mom; May. 22, 2020, 02:40 PM. Reason: Typos, clarity

    Comment


    • #82
      Originally posted by SonnysMom View Post

      Or they could have an open marriage or the marriage is for convenience sake as a business and no longer a love marriage. Maybe he had her "permission" to indulge outside the marital bed and vice versa? Plenty of people stay married for the children. I don't see it a stretch to stay married for the sake of a business or comfortable life.

      Going back hundreds of years marriages were a business arrangements between families and not based on love. In modern society I could see a marriage starting out as a love thing and moving to a point where they stay married for the business. The relationship just morphs from love, to neutral but not to hate. Divorce is expensive. Moving to separate bedrooms is cheaper.

      Disclaimer- I have no idea if this is the case here and it is none of my business if it is. Just presenting another possibility.

      Personally for 99% of situations where there is a couple where one is a pro and the other is an ammie I call BS. My bet is that the amateur at some point has lunged a clients horse for the pro spouse, hopped on a clients horse to school it, hopped on a consignment sale horse to school it, hopped on a boarder's horse to hack it while they were on vacation and my bet is that it is more than once in a blue moon. I bet in most situations "What happens at the farm stays at the farm". Call me cynical.
      So many assumptions in here I can’t address them all. Let me assure you, you are way off base with every one of them. The most drastic being that KS does not take her amateur status seriously .... I have never met anyone who was so careful about staying within the amateur rule, and I’ve been doing this a long time.

      Comment


      • #83
        Originally posted by APirateLooksAtForty View Post
        She was reported. FL Bar did nothing. And then she went on a crazy rampage blocking 75% of her Facebook “friends” and unbeknownst to her losing several misguided supporters and potential clients in the process. I am pro-Tommy (this is not a statement on these allegations, mind you), but I am staunchly anti-Bonnie Navin.
        I think it’s hard with fraternization cases. I’ve seen it in the Navy were it’s almost like a higher up has an agenda so they throw someone under the bus even though the relationship has no impact on work. No favoritism is shown. These cases are hard.

        Thing is, fraternization is now a thing in the horse world and it’s best not to stick ones pen in company ink. People get vindictive when it ends or when they have a perceived relationship. Basically it gets messy. I feel for him because clearly this is a mess. I don’t care if he did have an affair, but it is a wake up call to professionals and clients alike that boarding and training is a business relationship at the end of the day. It’s a hard lesson to learn.
        Don't try this at home.

        Comment


        • #84
          Originally posted by TheMoo View Post
          What shocks me and what I think a lot of people miss is it’s only about their friends. That Dressage trainer, there’s a thread in the Dressage forum that got bumped, who is straight up banned and I don’t see people crying about that. No one cares about the Argentine jumper trainer out of Greenwhich, CT.

          In my opinion, AFE and the like would hold way more clout if they didn’t pick and choose. If they really are serious, why only focus on the hunter crowd of horse sports? Why not defend the Dressage trainer or the Jumper trainer? I mean those sports are actually in the Olympics.

          There are not many dressage trainers banned. One was banned by judicial outcome, and there are maybe a couple banned via SS investigation. Probably because most often the violation is sexual misconduct involving a minor, and most of the minors are in hj, not dressage.

          Of course there is Michael Barisone, but the outcome of his current suspension will probably rest completely on the outcome of his criminal trial, with conviction or guilty plea to any serious crime resulting in a lifetime ban and, otherwise, the suspension lifted. Neither Barisone nor his highly competent lawyer has said a word on social media or to the regular media. So that is indeed how real lawyers handle things.

          You’re right that the AFE people and SS bashers don’t jump to the defense of anyone accused, only their friends, especially powerful, famous friends.

          Comment


          • #85
            Originally posted by Mara View Post
            Honest question here. Please don't assume I am siding with AFE or ISWG, because nothing could be further from the truth.

            SafeSport's original intent is to protect minors involved in sports from being preyed upon/bullied/otherwise abused by coaches/mentors/sponsors, etc. Correct?

            So why do they get involved in cases where BOTH parties are legal adults? Yes, I get the point about power imbalances, and for the record I find such behavior unethical and reprehensible on the part of the one wielding the power. But this kind of exploitation isn't limited to the equestrian realm or even athletics in general. It's not against the law to date your employee or client, although many businesses do have firm rules prohibiting such.

            Can anyone elaborate?
            I would alter your first statement to say SS’s PRIMARY (rather than original) purpose is to protect minors. Protection against abuse in general (including harassment or bullying, but especially sexual abuse).

            A sexual relationship between adults with power imbalance in a work, educational, or professional context is not a crime, but is prohibited by the ethics codes of most professions. So the SS code of conduct includes the prohibition of sexual relationships between adults when there is a power imbalance. I guess the alternative would be for the NGBs to handle that as part of their own code of conduct, but since the NGBs (generally, not just equestrian) seemed unable to effectively handle sexual misconduct involving minors, I think it was the right call to include it in the purview of SS.

            On a simpler level, if the legislation that created SS stated that it was responsible for policing a prohibition of sexual relationships between adults with power imbalance, then that’s part of its mission.
            Last edited by YankeeDuchess; May. 22, 2020, 04:11 PM.

            Comment


            • #86
              Originally posted by YankeeDuchess View Post


              There are not many dressage trainers banned. One was banned by judicial outcome, and there are maybe a couple banned via SS investigation. Probably because most often the violation is sexual misconduct involving a minor, and most of the minors are in hj, not dressage.

              Of course there is Michael Barisone, but the outcome of his current suspension will probably rest completely on the outcome of his criminal trial, with conviction or guilty plea to any serious crime resulting in a lifetime ban and, otherwise, the suspension lifted. Neither Barisone nor his highly competent lawyer has said a word on social media or to the regular media. So that is indeed how real lawyers handle things.

              You’re right that the AFE people and SS bashers don’t jump to the defense of anyone accused, only their friends, especially powerful, famous friends.
              You are correct that it’s out of an actual criminal trial. However, it came to my attention and I’m not going to put these people out there and SS reflected this, that RG suicided over active criminal investigations. From what I’ve heard RG suicided because there was legit police involvement.

              My point is the hunter people get all up in arms because of their friends. That’s BS.

              Ive been lurking and despite the train wreck in another forum, I’m glad to see you engaging in the community. Your posts are informative.
              Don't try this at home.

              Comment


              • #87
                Originally posted by Denali6298 View Post

                You are correct that it’s out of an actual criminal trial. However, it came to my attention and I’m not going to put these people out there and SS reflected this, that RG suicided over active criminal investigations. From what I’ve heard RG suicided because there was legit police involvement.

                My point is the hunter people get all up in arms because of their friends. That’s BS.

                Ive been lurking and despite the train wreck in another forum, I’m glad to see you engaging in the community. Your posts are informative.
                I was not aware that there was actual police involvement prior to RG’s suicide, but it is not surprising that there would have been if some of the incidents that SS was investigating were still within the statute of limitations. I had heard allegations that some of the incidents were more recent then the proverbial “thirty years ago”.

                I can believe that there were a lot of aspects of RG which were good, and I sympathize with the pain of his friends and family when he committed suicide. But I still think it unfair of the SS bashers to blame SS for his death. Being (justifiably) banned from the sport for life is a painful consequence (even if deserved), but it was his choice, not SS’s to go the route of suicide. If, as you say, there was a police investigation that might well result in further shame and possible incarceration, then it’s just all the more clear that it’s not appropriate to blame SS for his death.

                Re: Barisone, while he is currently suspended, there is not much point in his friends taking it out on SS, since SS is not doing the investigating or trying of his case. SS will just passively assign a sanction based on the outcome of the criminal trial.

                Comment


                • #88
                  Originally posted by CBoylen View Post
                  I certainly don’t intend to go beyond the above since I firmly agree with you, however, can I also generically point out that I have a little bit of an issue with discussion of all Safesport cases leading to comments about minors, even when the case discussed does not involve anyone who is, or was at the time of the alleged incident, a minor?
                  I think it’s really important to be clear that Safesport does not automatically equal underage victim or physical assault, no matter how one feels about it in general or any particular case.
                  This should not be an issue. The Safe Sport banned/suspended list clearly states whether a minor was involved, and the interim suspension section says only "allegation of misconduct." People can just look at the list. That's what it's there for.

                  Bonnie Navin and her ilk have, by being so anti-safe sport and pro-George Morris etc, made it impossible for anyone to join their little reform club without appearing to be pedophile apologists.

                  I don't know the Serios, but they've chosen to align themselves with some very ugly people who have some very ugly ideas.

                  The "People Attempting to Undermine Safe Sport" thread has some examples of Bonnie Navin and the AES's writings and no one in their right mind would want to be associated with them.
                  Last edited by skydy; May. 23, 2020, 07:14 PM. Reason: Grammar. Again.

                  Comment


                  • #89
                    Originally posted by Mara View Post
                    Honest question here. Please don't assume I am siding with AFE or ISWG, because nothing could be further from the truth.

                    SafeSport's original intent is to protect minors involved in sports from being preyed upon/bullied/otherwise abused by coaches/mentors/sponsors, etc. Correct?

                    So why do they get involved in cases where BOTH parties are legal adults? Yes, I get the point about power imbalances, and for the record I find such behavior unethical and reprehensible on the part of the one wielding the power. But this kind of exploitation isn't limited to the equestrian realm or even athletics in general. It's not against the law to date your employee or client, although many businesses do have firm rules prohibiting such.

                    Can anyone elaborate?
                    SafeSport came specifically and originally from issues involving minors in gymnastics and swimming, but many abused athletes are in fact young adults, and these problems were not new when Larry Nasser came along. When the legislation was written, it was intended to address a range of conduct that was seen to be unethical, destructive, and corrosive, beyond what is actively criminal. The power imbalance situation is very real, and these cases involving 18 year olds have been some of the hardest to deal with because the law is different for victims who are adults, both in timelines and in what counts as consent. And yet, we clearly had situations both where coaches were abusing their authority (several examples in swimming for example) over their athletes, as well as situations where athletes were committing sexual assault against other athletes, sometimes while traveling as part of the national team. The issues in the first case should be obvious to all of us; the issues in the second were often that the individual who was on the receiving end of the attack quit the sport rather than risk being in a situation where they would have to travel with or contact the other athlete. We were selecting for predators, inadvertently.

                    So, let me remind you of a case of a predatory coach who was careful to mostly approach and groom boys who were at least 18, for decades:

                    http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/sto...ormer-olympian
                    Last edited by poltroon; May. 22, 2020, 07:53 PM.
                    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


                    • #90
                      The other thing I want to add to the question of why adults would be covered is to remind everyone of the perennial threads here about young working students ending up in predatory, abusive situations. It's not considered unusual, surprising, or secret that this is a problem in our industry - well not among those of us who are old and well-connected. But it is a surprise, every year, to young riders in the 16-25 range who seek these positions, and often get very hurt as a result.
                      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


                      • #91
                        Originally posted by Cinderella View Post
                        His lawyer is Bonnie Navin. Isn’t she an outspoken critic of Safesport?
                        Bonnie has represented people on both sides and I am sure she doesn't condone illegal conduct- she has been in the battle field and knows more about the process than anyone. What's the old saying? "Don't call a crocodile a shithead until you've crossed the river" - As an attorney, I hate to see attorneys criticized for choosing to represent clients who need them. Being a lawyer is hard work and kinda sucks, to be honest.

                        Comment


                        • #92
                          Originally posted by Atlas Shrugged View Post

                          Bonnie has represented people on both sides and I am sure she doesn't condone illegal conduct- she has been in the battle field and knows more about the process than anyone. What's the old saying? "Don't call a crocodile a shithead until you've crossed the river" - As an attorney, I hate to see attorneys criticized for choosing to represent clients who need them. Being a lawyer is hard work and kinda sucks, to be honest.
                          She has? She only seems to go public about her big name friends. I guess the small fry doesn’t deserve the same publicity? Riding coat tails is the reason for pro bono.

                          Comment


                          • #93
                            Originally posted by TheMoo View Post

                            She has? She only seems to go public about her big name friends. I guess the small fry doesn’t deserve the same publicity? Riding coat tails is the reason for pro bono.
                            As I recall, bonnie put a call out after the rob gage debacle looking for victims to use to demonstrate that safe sport had failed them. There was an end game that was not about helping victims.
                            Let me apologize in advance.

                            Comment


                            • #94
                              Originally posted by ladyj79 View Post

                              As I recall, bonnie put a call out after the rob gage debacle looking for victims to use to demonstrate that safe sport had failed them. There was an end game that was not about helping victims.
                              And clearly that was a fail because lord knows we would have heard about it.

                              Comment


                              • #95
                                Originally posted by Atlas Shrugged View Post

                                Bonnie has represented people on both sides and I am sure she doesn't condone illegal conduct- she has been in the battle field and knows more about the process than anyone. What's the old saying? "Don't call a crocodile a shithead until you've crossed the river" - As an attorney, I hate to see attorneys criticized for choosing to represent clients who need them. Being a lawyer is hard work and kinda sucks, to be honest.
                                I can’t speak for anyone else, but my criticism of her is not for representing people investigated by SafeSport. Anyone investigated by SafeSport or charged with a crime deserves legal representation.
                                My criticism of her is that she uses the fact that she has been through the process first hand and then uses her credentials as an insider to say stuff that is not true, and the untruths seem to be designed to make SS look bad.

                                For example, she has said:

                                In the beginning, SS was lifetime banning “everyone”, but after pressure was put on them “over 90%” of the bans were overturned on appeal.

                                The appeal process is limited to addressing purely procedural issues, and does not address whether the respondent did or did not commit the offense.

                                A respondent cannot have violated the SS code if the offense occurred prior to the start of SS in 2018.

                                SS can be weaponized by nasty people to take down 100% innocent professionals and ruin their careers, and that that in fact happened in the case of Tommy Serio in his 2018 interim suspension.

                                All of these statements are red meat flashed in front of the ISWG and AES types, who seem to be trying to undermine SS.
                                Defending people, even if they’re guilty, is noble. Fomenting outrage at SS by spreading untruths is not.

                                She has been exploiting the Serio case as a supposed example of SS being weaponized to destroy an innocent professional, possibly because she wanted to undermine SS while defending a DIFFERENT client. Serio can appeal his suspension, but unless he wins the appeal, it is difficult to see how her exploitation of his case to undermine SS served his interests.

                                I have seen zero criticism of the lawyers who represented George Morris.

                                Comment


                                • #96
                                  Originally posted by YankeeDuchess View Post

                                  I can’t speak for anyone else, but my criticism of her is not for representing people investigated by SafeSport. Anyone investigated by SafeSport or charged with a crime deserves legal representation.
                                  My criticism of her is that she uses the fact that she has been through the process first hand and then uses her credentials as an insider to say stuff that is not true, and the untruths seem to be designed to make SS look bad.

                                  For example, she has said:
                                  In the beginning, SS was lifetime banning “everyone”, but after pressure was put on them “over 90%” of the bans were overturned on appeal.
                                  The appeal process is limited to addressing purely procedural issues, and does not address whether the respondent did or did not commit the offense.
                                  A respondent cannot have violated the SS code if the offense occurred prior to the start of SS in 2018.
                                  SS can be weaponized by nasty people to take down 100% innocent professionals and ruin their careers, and that that in fact happened in the case of Tommy Serio in his 2018 interim suspension.

                                  All of these statements are red meat flashed in front of the ISWG and AES types, who seem to be trying to undermine SS.
                                  Defending people, even if they’re guilty, is noble. Fomenting outrage at SS by spreading untruths is not.

                                  She has been exploiting the Serio case as a supposed example of SS being weaponized to destroy an innocent professional, possibly because she wanted to undermine SS while defending a DIFFERENT client. Serio can appeal his suspension, but unless he wins the appeal, it is difficult to see how her exploitation of his case to undermine SS served his interests.

                                  I have seen zero criticism of the lawyers who represented George Morris.
                                  I mean, also that she has actively attacked victims of traumatic childhood assault like her oh, so cute AK pony pic.

                                  She's an awful human, which has nothing to do with her career.
                                  Let me apologize in advance.

                                  Comment


                                  • #97
                                    Originally posted by TheMoo View Post

                                    She has? She only seems to go public about her big name friends. I guess the small fry doesn’t deserve the same publicity? Riding coat tails is the reason for pro bono.
                                    She represented a modified adult rider in a GABA case. The client's horse had tested positive after shipping in to a local show from her home and she had no idea what GABA even was. The poor woman was set down for season, even though she was battling breast cancer, and died before she had the chance to see USEF's lab single handedly brought to its knees for their improper testing methods in their lab. No notoriety, no $. Just sayin'

                                    Comment


                                    • #98
                                      Originally posted by ladyj79 View Post

                                      I mean, also that she has actively attacked victims of traumatic childhood assault like her oh, so cute AK pony pic.

                                      She's an awful human, which has nothing to do with her career.
                                      Yes, she posts the childhood pic of AK on her own FB page, complete with grateful inscription from AK to JW, and says the motivation of the post is just that it’s such a beautiful example of good form in a jumper, and she didn’t know the identity of the rider or notice the inscription! So of the hundreds of thousands of pictures of jumpers with pricked ears, snapped up front legs and a good bascule, she just happens to post that one? Another lie.

                                      People don’t object to her working as a lawyer, more that she’s a bad lawyer.

                                      Comment


                                      • #99
                                        Originally posted by Atlas Shrugged View Post

                                        She represented a modified adult rider in a GABA case. The client's horse had tested positive after shipping in to a local show from her home and she had no idea what GABA even was. The poor woman was set down for season, even though she was battling breast cancer, and died before she had the chance to see USEF's lab single handedly brought to its knees for their improper testing methods in their lab. No notoriety, no $. Just sayin'
                                        Funny she only crows about BNTs. I can’t get behind someone who pretends to be virtuous when they only speak about big names and advertises a 1-800 number. That screams good lawyer Proof or it didn’t happen.

                                        Comment


                                        • Originally posted by YankeeDuchess View Post

                                          Yes, she posts the childhood pic of AK on her own FB page, complete with grateful inscription from AK to JW, and says the motivation of the post is just that it’s such a beautiful example of good form in a jumper, and she didn’t know the identity of the rider or notice the inscription! So of the hundreds of thousands of pictures of jumpers with pricked ears, snapped up front legs and a good bascule, she just happens to post that one? Another lie.

                                          People don’t object to her working as a lawyer, more that she’s a bad lawyer.
                                          Bonnie is a wanna be bad actor. She can’t even be successful as an attorney with out ambulance chasing and working for a firm with a 1800 number. How sad. I’m also willing to bet all the BNTs would care about her if she wasn’t willing to do the work pro bono. Sad life.

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