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Jumping off from the other thread... the issue of people with criminal records at horse shows

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  • Jumping off from the other thread... the issue of people with criminal records at horse shows

    Carrying over from the other thread...

    I closed the first topic and started this one with the hope of just moving the discussion in a more general direction, and hopefully making it a little more productive and constructive, rather than just a matter of people bickering back and forth.

    I'm copying below a post I made on page 21 of the previous thread, and I'm going to copy over a couple of other posts too, to use as jumping off points.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Can I interject here, in an effort to get this thread on SOME kind of productive track?

    Look, I don't think everyone is ever going to agree on whether or not someone with this kind of criminal record is or isn't a "good" person... whether you're just talking about someone who you'd associate with as a friend or business acquaintance, or in the moral sense of the word. It's kind of pointless to argue about it.

    We all have different standards of what we'll tolerate and forgive, and obviously if you have a history with a person, your perspective is going to be different than someone who wouldn't know the person in question from Adam.

    I'd like to ask a couple of questions, in the hopes that we can stop the "He's great!"/"No, he's not!" bickering.

    1. Are there any parents out there whose kids read TH? Or whose kids have met KK in person or corresponded with him? Did you know about his prior conviction before this thread? If not, does this change your stance on what you will allow your kids to do? Why or why not? If you knew his history, have you been more vigilant about keeping an eye on your kids while they're reading his site/corresponding with him, or have you just been as vigilant as you would be with anyone else?

    2. Those of you who are kids and who read TH or correspond with KK... are your parents aware of his previous conviction?

    3. In a more general sense... we are all "customers" of the shows/competitions we attend. As a customer, would you be comfortable with a show's management employing a convicted sex offender? What about someone with a conviction for drug possession?

    4. Do you feel, in either of the above scenarios, that show management has a responsibility to disclose that someone has a criminal history? Why or why not?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
  • Original Poster

    #2
    Carrying over from the other thread...

    I closed the first topic and started this one with the hope of just moving the discussion in a more general direction, and hopefully making it a little more productive and constructive, rather than just a matter of people bickering back and forth.

    I'm copying below a post I made on page 21 of the previous thread, and I'm going to copy over a couple of other posts too, to use as jumping off points.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Can I interject here, in an effort to get this thread on SOME kind of productive track?

    Look, I don't think everyone is ever going to agree on whether or not someone with this kind of criminal record is or isn't a "good" person... whether you're just talking about someone who you'd associate with as a friend or business acquaintance, or in the moral sense of the word. It's kind of pointless to argue about it.

    We all have different standards of what we'll tolerate and forgive, and obviously if you have a history with a person, your perspective is going to be different than someone who wouldn't know the person in question from Adam.

    I'd like to ask a couple of questions, in the hopes that we can stop the "He's great!"/"No, he's not!" bickering.

    1. Are there any parents out there whose kids read TH? Or whose kids have met KK in person or corresponded with him? Did you know about his prior conviction before this thread? If not, does this change your stance on what you will allow your kids to do? Why or why not? If you knew his history, have you been more vigilant about keeping an eye on your kids while they're reading his site/corresponding with him, or have you just been as vigilant as you would be with anyone else?

    2. Those of you who are kids and who read TH or correspond with KK... are your parents aware of his previous conviction?

    3. In a more general sense... we are all "customers" of the shows/competitions we attend. As a customer, would you be comfortable with a show's management employing a convicted sex offender? What about someone with a conviction for drug possession?

    4. Do you feel, in either of the above scenarios, that show management has a responsibility to disclose that someone has a criminal history? Why or why not?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by magnolia:

      Why this matters-
      I'm not so concerned with his alleged crimes ... on my list of "bad" people, someone caught with drugs isn't a huge deal - again, my opinion - and sex offender, well, that's a broad term, though I wouldn't leave my child or myself with him alone!.

      A lot of people are defending him - most of which are people that know him and actively show. Which is fine, they actually know the person, not the charges. The problem is, his actions damage the whole sport's reputation, which is bad enough.

      Parents are so leary of sex offenders - good idea! Heck, we can't get a rezoning for a daycare because "it attracts sex offenders" - parents are acutely aware, if not paranoid of this. Do you not think that a parent looking for a new activity for their child will read about this online or in the paper? Then it spreads, then someone comes here to see people defending it - great, now like the day care attracts sex offenders, so do horseshows - and "They employ KNOWN sex offenders".... no way I'd let my kid start riding lessons with an eye to the hunter circuit.

      The man got one second chance. He blew it and it reflects poorly on this sport and all the honest people that engage in it. No, drug use is not an indicator that I don't like someone, I have my own past. But when you are a public spokesman for something who already has a past record, you should seriously consider staying clean. He isn't some manure shoveler, he is a pretty key part of these shows and his role as editor at Towerheads only makes him more public.

      The witchy witch witch of south central NC.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

      Comment


      • #4
        I think that we all owe the moderators here a great big Christmas bonus.

        Thanks for being here for us.........
        "The best thing for the inside of a man is the outside of a horse" Lord Palmerston

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Bensmom:
          <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I had a few thoughts run through my mind while driving.

          1. What are the legal rights of a person charged as KK was?

          _Same as the rights of anyone charged with any crime, for the original incident. I'm not completely sure what is different for those charged with V.O.P. (i.e. for example, the no bond issue) Otherwise, you've got a right to an attorney etc. Is that what you meant?_

          2. Though a matter of public record, where does ones privacy stand in a situation as this?

          _One's privacy meaning? The arrest and charging documents are public record. Just about everything surrounding the case is a matter of public record. Sometimes if you have a child testifying, a judge will "close" the courtroom for that, but all other aspects of the case are public record. If you mean as far as discussing it here, then like anything else, it isn't libel/slander as long as what's said is known to be the "truth" or is clearly couched as "opinion." That is why poor Erin is working so hard to make sure the posts are edited to only cover what is known as "fact" which at this point is the prior arrest and placement on probation for the L&L charge and the current arreest for probation violation. I haven't seen the actual arrest/charging info, but the newspaper article printed the details about the drugs, so that is probably verifiable as well, but I don't know that, as I haven't verified it as true myself. Other than that -- if you were to post that you "heard" he did thus and such and couldn't factually back it up, that is a definite issue. But as far as a right to privacy in the concern of having a prior conviction, there isn't one really._

          3. Is an offender as this required to divulge information as to a prior criminal record to prospective employers, though the employers may not ask specifically for this information?

          _It depends. For instance, the new laws surrounding the sexual offender offenses have a tremendous number of requirements, including one that I just read that requires notification of DHSMV (motor vehicles) of the conviction -- I thought this was a bit odd -- do they print it on your license? But, you do have certain disclosure requirements and I'm not sure how they all operate or what they are._

          4. Assuming (not a far stretch) that all of the show management teams were aware of KK's prior history, or anyones for that matter, if liability thru employment were to be a problem, I would think that either they have previously contacted their attorneys & their insurance company prior to employing Mr. Kraus or anyone in a situation as this. Would they want to take the chance of loosing it all for employing just one person?

          _Again, it depends. I'm always surprised at what people will do despite the liabilty issues. For whatever reason, they obviously were not concerned enough to not hire him. There must have been a reason that it was thought to be a good business decision._

          <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

          Under some of Florida's new provisions concerning sexual offenders, some of these issues don't come up or haven't come up yet, because following prison time, many of them are being civilly committed to a facility that is designed to examine and treat their problems. This civil commitment is indefinite and they can be held until it is determined that they are "well." So, under the laws in place for the last few years, this type of situation (a convicted sex offender working in a horse show environment) won't come up because it would be terribly unlikely that it would ever get to that.

          _ *Proud member of the Hoof Fetish Clique*_<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

          Comment


          • #6
            Well.......here's my take on #3 and #4 (no children, so I can't answer the first two):

            I am NOT comfortable with shows hiring convicted sex offenders or those convicted of drug possession. I also don't understand why that seems to be a difficult issue.

            I don't know the law - so there may indeed be reasons why this is not possible - but couldn't they just routinely ask ALL applicants "have you ever been convicted of a crime" or something and just not hire those who respond yes? Not charged with, but convicted of a crime.

            We entrust those things we hold most dear - our children and our horses - to the shows in many respects. I believe we have the right and indeed the obligation to expect those shows to do their best to protect our kids and horses. We can expect them to do that through decent footing, secure stabling, safe courses and yes, through not hiring people who have proven to be potentially dangerous through their behaviors.

            Comment


            • #7
              <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>We can expect them to do that through decent footing, secure stabling, safe courses and yes, through not hiring people who have proven to be potentially dangerous through their behaviors. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

              This is what I am asking. Would this be considered prejudice or discrimination that could be persued by the applicant in the legal arena?
              "The best thing for the inside of a man is the outside of a horse" Lord Palmerston

              Comment


              • #8
                actually, the whole KK thread, coupled with the suspension thread and sense of "well, everyone KNOWS X does this/ Y does that" got me thinking....

                If "everyone" knows there's a proverbial elephant in the parlor of the horse world, why are there so many draperies thrown on it to hide it?

                I'm asking this honestly, as someone who considers herself reasonably intelligent on most days but who is still fairly new and low-level in this world. Again, my question is:

                How does or should someone know about history or concerns regarding individuals in the show world? Do you need to investigate everyone (how very sad)? And if so, where do you go to do it?

                Some have said they find these boards inappropriate for that. OK, I disagree as long as things are kept to legal reasonable discussion, but if that's so......where do you go? Not everyone is AT a big show barn to start; not everyone goes to the huge shows or pays to subscribe to everything.

                Yet I hear a lot of "oh, everyone knows that." Maybe I'm just a lot dumber than I think - which is possible - but I don't believe "everyone" does know.

                I never would have thought about the issue of convicted sex offenders working at shows -- I just sort of naively figured that wasn't allowed. I was wrong. I'm getting really scared about what else I could be wrong about, too...

                Comment


                • #9
                  I am assuming, that the laws would depend on what state the show was being held in as well, with hiring. Discrimination is something you have to be careful of. From long time experience, think we all would be greatly surprised at what criminal records lurk in our industry. Horses, whether it's racing or showing, have been a place many hide comfortably in. Am not saying this to scare anyone. Nor is anyone dumb for not knowing this. We all like to see the garden as blooming, not dried out, with flowers gone. History has proved this over and over again.

                  Horse labor is hard work, and people don't pay all that much for manual labor. So, when someone shows up, seems to do the job well, and likes the horses, they get hired. No questions asked. They perform, show up on time, and in general keep to themselves. So and so down the road might know of them, so thats about all the resume they get. Then something happens, and what looked like a great employee, isn't. This business as with others has problems.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    'Have you ever been convicted of a crime' can cover a WIDE range of offenses (obviously). Running a stop sign can get you convicted of a crime. I think my mother may have been convicted of a misdemeanor (some sort of civil disobedience?) in the '70s (she was definitely arrested) for protesting. I think it's silly to paint all 'criminals' with one brush - she has a graduate degree from one of the Ivies, works her butt off, and is very good at what she does. The government trusts her enough to give her a security clearence. If she has indeed been convicted of a misdemeanor (I'm really not sure), you're basically saying she's unfit to work at a horse show. Come on, now -

                    Most people aren't going to want to pay the extra $$$ - on top of entry fees, stabling costs, misc. fees, etc. - so that management companies can run background checks on all their employees. There are MANY people who do bad things, but have had the good fortune not to get caught. If you're terribly curious about people in your home state, many states have court records online - you can look up stuff ranging from the state Supreme Court all the way down to Gen'l. District Court info, just with a person's name. Does your state have a convicted sex offender list online? You can look people up on that based on area/name/etc. You'd probably be suprised how many people in your neighborhood, street, what have you are convicted sex offenders. It is, unfortunately, not a terribly rare thing.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Under some of Florida's new provisions concerning sexual offenders, some of these issues don't come up or haven't come up yet, because following prison time, many of them are being civilly committed to a facility that is designed to examine and treat their problems. This civil commitment is indefinite and they can be held until it is determined that they are "well." So, under the laws in place for the last few years, this type of situation (a convicted sex offender working in a horse show environment) won't come up because it would be terribly unlikely that it would ever get to that.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                      Unfortunately, that may not be as cut and dried as it appears. Many mentally disturbed people are released as cured so long as they take their medication. There is no way however when out of the controlled situation to make sure that they actually do take their medication.

                      Once off that medication they can return to their original condition. So it is possible that a person who is a convicted sexual predator could be released as cured, and not take their medication and return to the predator condition and that person could be at a horse show as an official or employee.

                      I don't think we can guarantee that everyone at any horse show in 100% average. There is no such thing as normal, just a percentage of average behaviors that are acceptable. There has been a lot of serious debate as to whether a pedophile is ever actually cured or is it just controlled behavior.

                      Over the past 33 years of running horse shows we have certainly found a scattering of some very perverted behavior. But, generally this is a very tiny percentage of the whole and no larger than that in the general population.

                      I personally however think that we do the predator a serious disservice when we act as if it's OK! and allow them to be in an environment likely to trigger what was controlled. For example there was a case of a convicted predator that chose to live across the street from a Grade School where little children passed back and forth twice a day. He defended his right to live wherever he chose and he chose to live where he could see children all the time.

                      I think this discussion needs to consider where the personal rights of a predator end as compared to those of the other people who may then be fearful for the children and their right to a peaceful life style. In the case mentioned above they determined that the overall good was for the predator to move from the source of his psychosis.

                      Battle Scarred Veteran
                      http://www.usAHSA.org and http://www.noreinstatement.org

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Addressing Erin's topic directly:

                        1.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I haven't had the chance to run through the other thread yet...but wanted to share some food for thought about charges.

                          I work as a Probation Officer for youths in Ontario. I see a variety of charges and situations coming through the Courts for the 12-16 year olds that I work with.

                          Consider this...

                          A youth who "mooned" another youth was charged and found guilty of sexual assault. Now...if this is the standard, how many of us have committed a "sexual assault"?

                          So...I guess my point is that some very minor things can result in charges. So, before saying that everyone who has been found guilty in Court should be screened.....we need to remember the reality of some of the stuff actually going to Court these days.....

                          www.draygonfynedesign.ca
                          www.draygonfynedesign.ca

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            When I ask about prejudice and discrimination, I am not asking specifically within the horse industry. I ask about in any arena, outside of those that has been disallowed by a legal system.
                            "The best thing for the inside of a man is the outside of a horse" Lord Palmerston

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Why can't show organizations instill an employee drug policy just like every other company in the U.S.? Something that leads to an automatic firing (i.e., permanent banishment)? Most working Americans have to live by one - what makes the horse show management world exempt?

                              To answer your questions, Erin, I would not be comfortable knowing a convicted sex offender was employed by the show management. If I had children, I'd REALLY be uncomfortable. And no, I would not allow my children to chat with a convicted sex offender.

                              As far as the criminal past, a simple check box on the form would work. Have you been convicted of: &lt;and list the ones that would apply to horse showing and a family event&gt;? If yes, be specific as to the crime? How long ago? What was your sentence? In what state were you convicted?

                              People always have the option to not fill out the form, but that of course means they won't be hired. And anyone who hasn't been convicted of something that applies (that takes care of L'histoire's mother ) won't be bothered by it.

                              There's an old saying, "a leopard doesn't change his spots." I'd rather be safe than sorry.

                              .................................................. .................................................. ......
                              "Whether you think you can or think you can't - you are right." -Henry Ford
                              "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you are right." -Henry Ford

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Oops, messed up.

                                1. It would matter to me if someone was convicted of a sexual offense and was still on administrative probation -- and yet played an important public role for a horse show. If I found that out, I would probably let show management know my feelings. If they nonetheless kept that person, I probably would not boycott the show. But that's because I am with my daughter all the time at the shows, and don't let her go with anyone else. If I was a Mom entrusting my daughter to a trainer to go to another state, I would be VERY upset about it. My guess is that there are lots of orphan teenagers in Florida right now...I wonder if any of their Moms read this board?

                                2. I don't feel as strongly about a drug possession offense, although I do about a drug dealing offense. That may not be rational, but that's the way I feel. If anyone was EVER caught providing drugs or alcohol to the minors, however, that would be even worse than the sexual offender issue.

                                3. I agree with the comment about being sceptical about "everyone knows about it". That may be true in WEF right now, because the high level of those shows means that only people totally immersed in that world -- and at big name barns -- are even participating. But at the statewide A shows we participate in, I am sure there are lots of things that many people know, but that barns who want to stay out of the gossip loop would not know. We're attending two AA shows in a few weeks here in Houston. I would have NO idea who or what kinds of problems exist along the lines addressed in this thread. Show management should never assume knowledge.

                                4. In general, this is a reminder about the dangers of letting ANY teenagers go for extended periods of time without their parents at out of town events. Most trainers I know are so busy caring for the horses, that they are not the best caretakers of teenagers -- even with the best of intentions.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Hopeful Hunter let me give you an example of how difficult it can be. I interviewed and checked references (I thought)of a very nice middle aged i.e. not very young but not old man for barn work. He seemed just fine, filled out my employment form which includes the right for me to search criminal records.

                                  He had no record. He didn't show up the day he was to start, I called and he said he a problem moving and storing his stuff and would be here the next day.

                                  Well when the newspaper came the next day, I discovered that his problem moving was he had killed his live-in girl friend and when the police checked there were three warrants from three different states where he was "suspected" of having murdered the barn owner by whom he was employed. No police record and no convictions a clear record.

                                  Fortunately, I was spared having to reconsider whether or not to hire him. My point is that I don't think there is any way that anyone can be assured they have the whole truth of anyone's story; if they intend for us not to know, except a conviction which is public record.

                                  Battle Scarred Veteran
                                  http://www.usAHSA.org and http://www.noreinstatement.org

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Party Rose asked

                                    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> This is what I am asking. Would this be considered prejudice or discrimination that could be persued by the applicant in the legal arena? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                                    Well, with the caveat that anyone can sue over anything, the question of whether the suit will be sucessful or dismissed is the important one.

                                    The short answer to this is "no" -- someone who can sue for discrimination has to be able to prove that they are a member of a "protected class" and that means usually racial, gender, or age discrimination. Being a convicted felon is definitely *not* a protected class.

                                    As a matter of fact, convicted felons often have fewer civil rights that members of the general public -- they can't possess firearms, for instance. You could certainly decide not to hire someone who was a convicted felon.

                                    Snowbird -- just fwiw, as of yet, there have been a couple of judges that have released people from the civil commitment facility (i.e. legally something was done incorrectly in detaining them) none of the professionals that review the offenders have certified that any of them are "well" whether on medication or not.

                                    It will be interesting to see how this civil commitment system works over time.

                                    Libby

                                    *Proud member of the Hoof Fetish Clique*
                                    I have Higher Standards ...do you? Find us on FB!
                                    Higher Standards Custom Leather Care -- Handcrafted Saddle Soap

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Snowbird

                                      That really scares me.
                                      "The best thing for the inside of a man is the outside of a horse" Lord Palmerston

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Thanks Bensmom...........
                                        "The best thing for the inside of a man is the outside of a horse" Lord Palmerston

                                        Comment

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