Cipres accused of sexual misconduct

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missing

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Honestly, I don't think Fontana and Zimmerman could have handled things any worse, but that got me trying to figure out how they could have handled things better and I ended up with a big pot of messy.

I'm leaving out the other coach because I'm confused enough as it is. So to me the key figures are the coaches (F/Z), the pairs team (J/C) and the two girls and their families (A, who we read about, and B).

F/Z are informed by A and her parents a little more than 2 months before the Olympics that C has sent pornographic images to two underage girls (A/B).

F/Z have 3 sets of loyalties- to A/B and their families, to J/C, and to their own business. F/Z have coached J/C through their steady rise in world pairs and have every reason to hope that J/C will medal at the Olympics. F/Z's careers as coaches are also on the upswing and should they be held accountable in any way for J/C not to compete or to compete under a shadow that could affect their skating, it could be disastrous for them.

All right. I was pretty clear up until then and the only way out I could see was for F/Z, who might well have been in a state of shock when A and her family told them what had happened, to request that they be given an opportunity to speak to their lawyer and to suggest that A and B's families do the same, with a conference be held afterward with all participants. What I would want to find out if I were F/Z is what my culpability was, whether I had a legal obligation to inform the police, and if there would be any legal consequences to going to the police after the Olympics were over, rather than right away.

I also don't think it would be unreasonable if F/Z said to A and her parents that J/C are extremely popular and that J is also a victim here, that this is her best chance at an Olympic medal, and she bears no responsibility for C's actions.

Of course, I don't know if any of those things were said; they're just what I would have said. But now we come to the part that confuses me.

Assuming that sending pornographic images to a child is illegal in Florida, don't A's parents (including at least one lawyer) have a legal obligation to inform the police that such images were sent to B? Aren't they complicit in a coverup if they don't inform the police?

My best guess (and believe me, this is a guess and my best may not be very good) is there was a settlement between F/Z and the families of A/B. The only reason I have any doubts is that A's family agreed to be interviewed. Neither family seems to have reported the incident (a family friend of A's did) and B and her family were unable to be located for the interview.

Even if my speculation is right, it doesn't excuse the harassment that A endured or the original act(s) by C and the other coach. It just offers me a way of puzzling out why the police weren't notified.
 

Colonel Green

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F/Z have 3 sets of loyalties- to A/B and their families, to J/C, and to their own business.
Fontana and Zimmerman were legally required to notify SafeSport once they were informed of the incident, and did not do so. Their only priority in that situation is meant to be protecting the child; Cipres isn't due any consideration.

It just offers me a way of puzzling out why the police weren't notified.
Did you read the article? The police were notified. The girl, having been intimidated, refused to cooperate.
 

puglover

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My understanding of the role of "mandated reporter" is that they are obligated to report any abuse or suspected abuse that is brought to their attention. I am not sure if that ends at SafeSport or, more likely, law enforcement. They are not mandated to investigate, come to conclusions or resolutions and in fact should not engage in any of that.
 

missing

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Fontana and Zimmerman were legally required to notify SafeSport once they were informed of the incident, and did not do so. Their only priority in that situation is meant to be protecting the child; Cipres isn't due any consideration.


Did you read the article? The police were notified. The girl, having been intimidated, refused to cooperate.
I did read the article several times.

As best I can tell, the police were notified by A's therapist, who in turn had been informed by A's tutor.


The girl’s parents provided USA TODAY Sports with a Dec. 30, 2017 email sent from their daughter’s tutor, whose name is not being used to protect the identity of the family, to Dara Bushman, a psychologist who worked with their daughter.

“Please ask her to share with you the many statements that have been made to her over the past few weeks (mostly by John) in an attempt to manipulate or scare her into keeping quiet,” the tutor wrote of the young skater. “She has been told that telling will place a target on her back with French fans, that she is the type of girl who does this (collect pics), that she has been asking for it by her clothing choices, that her dad is an attorney and imagine what he will do if he finds out, that she will destroy his career and that of his partner, and much more.”

“I received that email,” Bushman said in a phone interview Monday afternoon. “I did what I was bound to do ethically. I contacted the parents. I contacted the authorities. I wanted to make sure the child was safe.”

When the police arrived to interview the girl, she refused to tell them what happened, her parents said. Within a few weeks of the alleged incident, the parents said they took their daughter out of the Tampa-area rink and returned to their home in South Florida. She has been in therapy since, they said. The police took no action after the girl declined to cooperate.
 

overedge

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I would think that F/Z being loyal to their business would include acting appropriately when one of their students is allegedly being abused. Not throwing less famous students under the bus to cover up bad behavior by a more famous student. As it stands now, even if they are ever able to coach again, I doubt too many parents would want to place their kids under F/Z supervision.
 

Carolla5501

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I would think that F/Z being loyal to their business would include acting appropriately when one of their students is allegedly being abused. Not throwing less famous students under the bus to cover up bad behavior by a more famous student. As it stands now, even if they are ever able to coach again, I doubt too many parents would want to place their kids under F/Z supervision.
Really?
Read about anyone announcing coaching changes because of this?

sadly parents get caught up in the “hype” and all too often ignore red flags
 

SkateFanBerlin

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Just stepping back I wonder why would Cipres do such a thing? He's incredibly good looking, would have many women to choose from. Is the life of an elite athlete so restrictive some go crazy - like pedophile priests? I know nothing but male predatory sexual behavior seems to be under every rock. Like, the propensity to war.

It's gotten to the point that every time there is a pair/team - he 20, she 15 - I get squeamish. Many programs have a romantic, sexy tilt - the guy running his hands over the girl, the girl backed up into the guy. Last weekend there was a dance team whose closing pose included open mouth kissing.
 

Debbie S

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Just so you know the person behind that account has asked for their tweets not to be posted on figure skating forums in case their abuser finds them, I would delete the link and summarize the main points.

@feraina @BaileyCatts could you also please delete the direct link?
Oh. Ooops. I can delete my post with the direct reference, but @Colonel Green should delete their quote of my post, since I technically can't delete my post if it's been quoted.
 

missing

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I would think that F/Z being loyal to their business would include acting appropriately when one of their students is allegedly being abused. Not throwing less famous students under the bus to cover up bad behavior by a more famous student. As it stands now, even if they are ever able to coach again, I doubt too many parents would want to place their kids under F/Z supervision.
Again, I agree that the harassment was morally and most likely legally wrong.

Loyalty to their business is not a simple thing. It's a family business. Any decisions made affect themselves and their young children. And it is possible they felt loyalty to Vanessa James.

Were it me, I would have immediately upon being informed of the situation spoken to my attorney.
 

Tinami Amori

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The case is still investigated, so i am not making final judgement, but i am interested in "motivations" and "intentions".

Vinny Dispenza - so far looks "guilty" on several counts. interesting to know why the heck he would encourage Cipres to do something so bluntly illegal and offensive to the young girl, and so damaging to Cipres??!! did he think it was a joke, or was he trying to set up Cipres?

Zimmerman/Fontana - no questions. They bullied, harassed, threatened, intimidate the girl and her family, and not theoretically or with hints, but in blunt form of black-mail. Girl left the rink and now in therapy, and that's a clear case of crime, not misdemeanor. Had Z/F used a more humanly understandable approach, begged for forgiveness, said it was a rude joke, pleaded not to ruin Cipres' chances before Olys, there would be some consideration. But not in this case as it looks now.

Cipres - what was he thinking? that it is a joke? regardless of weather or not he knew the age of the girl, or who he is sending this to, to send fotos of his private parts to anyone? did he do it on a bet? geesssss..

For what it is worth, not meant as "for Cipres" or "against Cipres", for some times now i thought he exhibited traits of narcissism and exhibitionism. There is a russian skating forum, where girls/ladies swoon over photos that Cipres posts of his near-naked body, where it border-lines "erotic" and his "pants can't drop any lower" and pubic hair is showing.. :lol: He thinks he is hot.. and likes to reveal himself.

and the girls, who follow his site, some react like this to the photos and post it... (I don't know how old they are...)
 
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MacMadame

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Assuming that sending pornographic images to a child is illegal in Florida, don't A's parents (including at least one lawyer) have a legal obligation to inform the police that such images were sent to B? Aren't they complicit in a coverup if they don't inform the police?
The police were informed in 2017, before the Olympics. They did not tell Safe Sport though. That happened recently after Ashley told her story.

As it stands now, even if they are ever able to coach again, I doubt too many parents would want to place their kids under F/Z supervision.
You'd be surprised. People still sent their kids to Callaghan after the Maurizi accusation.
 

MsZem

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@SkateFanBerlin sexual harassment is about power, and using that power. It's not about needing or wanting to get one's rocks off, so to speak.
Another possibility is that Cipres thought of it as a joke. Ha ha, send a girl dick pics. Which would be just as gross but maybe less predatory?

This whole thing is both depressing and enraging.
 

missing

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The police were informed in 2017, before the Olympics. They did not tell Safe Sport though. That happened recently after Ashley told her story.


You'd be surprised. People still sent their kids to Callaghan after the Maurizi accusation.
Safe Sport is a non-issue. The issue for me is why weren't the police notified immediately by either girl's family. And I am curious about that because this does seem to be one of those situations where the coverup has serious consequences and colors my opinion of Fontana and Zimmerman, two coaches I have liked and rooted for.
 

overedge

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Again, I agree that the harassment was morally and most likely legally wrong.

Loyalty to their business is not a simple thing. It's a family business. Any decisions made affect themselves and their young children. And it is possible they felt loyalty to Vanessa James.

Were it me, I would have immediately upon being informed of the situation spoken to my attorney.
F/Z are working with minors and are in positions of power over vulnerable people. They have USFS and PSA coaching credentials, so they should know the reporting procedures and know what situations have to be reported. That was the first thing they should have done.
 

firstflight

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Safe Sport is a non-issue. The issue for me is why weren't the police notified immediately by either girl's family. And I am curious about that because this does seem to be one of those situations where the coverup has serious consequences and colors my opinion of Fontana and Zimmerman, two coaches I have liked and rooted for.
The portion of the article you quoted does not say that only the psychologist contacted the authorities. It just quotes her saying she did. She may have also told the parents that she will contact the authorities. There’s not enough detail there for you to know one way or another exactly what the parents did.
 

insideedgeua

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It's gotten to the point that every time there is a pair/team - he 20, she 15 - I get squeamish.
This is grossly unfair to the majority of young men in skating. They already deal with many people assuming that they’re gay because they skate. Now we have another group assuming that they must be sexual predators.

The vast majority are just young men who love skating.

Age gaps happen as it’s hard to find a partner of the right size, ability etc with a view to long term goals. By far the majority seem to develop a more protective brother/sister type relationship.

What has happened in Florida is clearly wrong, but let’s not tar all young men in skating with the same brush.
 

ToFarAwayTimes

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Horrible story. Hopefully the two men involved with the picture are arrested and charged, and the two coaches should be banned for life.

France or Italy may welcome them to coach there, but if you were a parent of a young girl, would you want your child to be coached by them after reading this?
Sadly there are many parents in this world all too eager to prostitute their children in exchange for fame or fortune.
 

coppertop1

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This is grossly unfair to the majority of young men in skating. They already deal with many people assuming that they’re gay because they skate. Now we have another group assuming that they must be sexual predators.

The vast majority are just young men who love skating.

Age gaps happen as it’s hard to find a partner of the right size, ability etc with a view to long term goals. By far the majority seem to develop a more protective brother/sister type relationship.

What has happened in Florida is clearly wrong, but let’s not tar all young men in skating with the same brush.
The men? Really? What about protecting the girls? When is that going to be the main concern? No one is pai all painting all male skaters with the same brush.
 

maureenfarone

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It sounds like Denney/Frazier had better look for new coaching right now. They could at least finish out the season with Jeremy Barrett, Marina Zoueva or Jim Peterson (all in Florida)
According to FB profile Jeremy Barrett now lives in Park City Utah and coaches at the Park City Ice Arena. Peterson and Zoueva are in Florida.
 

Tinami Amori

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This is grossly unfair to the majority of young men in skating. They already deal with many people assuming that they’re gay because they skate. Now we have another group assuming that they must be sexual predators.
well....... there are/were gay men (and women) who had to deal with many people assuming they are straight because they played hot lovers in films..
 

insideedgeua

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The men? Really? What about protecting the girls? When is that going to be the main concern? No one is pai all painting all male skaters with the same brush.
I quoted the poster I was talking about and clearly acknowledged that what has happened in Florida, the original topic of this post, is wrong.
 

MsZem

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The men? Really? What about protecting the girls? When is that going to be the main concern? No one is pai all painting all male skaters with the same brush.
The post you quoted was responding to a post that did just that (well, male pairs skaters with notably younger partners).

This is not a zero sum game. The main goal has to be protecting vulnerable skaters and making sport safe for everyone. Doing so does not require us to perpetuate harmful stereotypes.
 

DreamSkates

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Sad news. If this did happen, there will be evidence on a cell phone. Let the evidence take precedence, and wait for a report from Safe Sport. While they investigate, I don't know what else to say.
 
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