Keeping Track of Criminal Cases & SafeSport Suspensions in Skating

Artistic Skaters

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Since several topics that have been closed due to philosophical postings about definitions of teenage consent and other such musings, I thought we might try a general topic that keeps track of actual news updates about criminal or legal cases and new SafeSport suspensions involving skaters, coaches, administrators etc. It would help provide up-to-date notifications for skaters, parents & the skating community so we can keep track of these cases in one place as they arise & report them in a more factual manner.

This case involving a coach, Andrei Berekhovski, is in the news today. It notes that despite an arrest warrant, the coach is not listed on the SafeSport list :
Hansford was thirteen years old when she says her Orlando-based figure skating coach, Andrei Berekhovski, began sexually assaulting her.

“He was holding his hand over my mouth when I was telling him to stop. I said stop, and it kept going,” Hansford told Contact 5 Investigator Merris Badcock.

Hansford’s parents had to hold down jobs in another state to help fund lessons, equipment and coaching fees. As a result, Berekhovski’s wasn’t just Hansford’s coach; he was her caretaker and custodian too.
Part of that investigation included proof that Berekhovski’s own father had witnessed an assault against Hansford. Hansford also reported the alleged abuse to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. She says detectives asked her to call Berkehovski while they listened in, but the call backfired. "The day that I called and confronted him is the day he fled the country,” Hansford said. In June 2018, Orange County detectives issued a warrant for Berekhovski’s arrest for multiple charges, including two counts of sexual acts with a minor. The warrant is still outstanding.
 

Artistic Skaters

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There is also this update from Sylvia last month regarding the case of Thomas Incantalupo (previously updated in a separate thread about the coach) to add to the list compilation:
 
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mpal2

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This case involving a coach, Andrei Berekhovski, is in the news today. It notes that despite an arrest warrant, the coach is not listed on the SafeSport list :

Does SafeSport have a mechanism to keep track of accusations/arrest warrants outside their control or do skaters have to report them directly through the SafeSport reporting process?
 

Artistic Skaters

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Probably not. However, the skater said she reported it to SafeSport, although the article does not state when she reported it.
 

5Ali3

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There are two open Center for SafeSport cases involving figure skating coaches that are public: Steve Moore of West Hartford, CT and Richard Callaghan of Naples, FL. There are a few other cases that are not public.

Andrew Lavrik was banned in January by the Center for SafeSport; U.S. Figure Skating refuses to update their website to say that he's banned.
 
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Artistic Skaters

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Lincoln Center Skate Club in Columbus, IN has been placed in probationary status by USFS due to several violations.
The U.S. Figure Skating panel determined in May that club officials had, among other things, failed to “properly investigate incidents of misconduct perpetrated against club members,” failed to comply with SafeSport requirements, failed to conduct background checks on all club volunteers and denied a 10-year-old skater membership in the club because of the board of director’s “displeasure” with the skater’s mother, according to hearing documents.
During the hearing, club officials acknowledged that not all volunteers had undergone background checks, according to the decision. The panel found that one particular volunteer, Williams, was allowed to handle money while volunteering at a concession stand despite having pleaded guilty on two occasions to theft-related charges.
 

el henry

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There are two open Center for SafeSport cases involving figure skating coaches that are public: Steve Moore of West Hartford, CT and Richard Callaghan of Naples, FL. There are a few other cases that are not public.

Andrew Lavrik was banned in January by the Center for SafeSport; U.S. Figure Skating refuses to update their website to say that he's banned.
Why do you say "refuses"? Is there some sort of statement where USFS has said that they will not update their website or will not recognize the Safe Sport ban?
 

Theoreticalgirl

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Why do you say "refuses"? Is there some sort of statement where USFS has said that they will not update their website or will not recognize the Safe Sport ban?
There is an individual on Twitter who appears to be in the middle of their own case with SafeSport/USFS and based on their tweets, they suggest USFS is dragging their feet on the Lavrik case.
 

Debbie S

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There is an individual on Twitter who appears to be in the middle of their own case with SafeSport/USFS and based on their tweets, they suggest USFS is dragging their feet on the Lavrik case.
Well, if Lavrik was banned months ago and USFS has still not updated his status on their website, that's pretty clear evidence that they are dragging their feet in some way. We don't know the reason...could be disorganized/incompetent staff or could be something else.
 

Theoreticalgirl

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Well as long as someone suggests it on Twitter...

The usfsa website lists a suspension on this page. Hopefully they add the ban ASAP. https://www.usfsa.org/story?id=84071&menu=memberservices
You're more than welcome to dismiss this information, but this person seems to be someone with an open SafeSport case (anyone else here have that?) and insight about how the process works—not to mention the degree to which USFS is and isn't doing its job properly.
 

el henry

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Someone with an open case knows how their case is working. They do not know, unless the confidentiality of the system has completely broken down or someone has confided in them, how someone else’s case is working. And just IME I have found Twitter on this particular subject to be full of arguing and accusing, but very little facts.:confused:

I was asking for a particular reasons, (the effect of another court ruling which will have more effect, IMO, on proceedings than all the hashtags and aqua shirts in the world) but it appears that this was conjecture about “refused”. But no statement from USFS about why this case was not posted.
 

Theoreticalgirl

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@el henry the same can be said about this board w/r/t information. We're all operating under aliases here, why believe anything anyone says? ¯\(ツ)

I didn't link to their tweets bc they're a private account, but they also seem to be working with USFS to right some of these wrongs, and have a front seat to the bungling. For me, I am willing to be open and hear them out. I don't think that's a hard ask. This is all I'm going to say, and bow out of this discussion.
 

el henry

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@el henry the same can be said about this board w/r/t information. We're all operating under aliases here, why believe anything anyone says? ¯\(ツ)

I didn't link to their tweets bc they're a private account, but they also seem to be working with USFS to right some of these wrongs, and have a front seat to the bungling. For me, I am willing to be open and hear them out. I don't think that's a hard ask. This is all I'm going to say, and bow out of this discussion.
OT, but Henry is my real last name. El is my first initial. My Twitter and Facebook are public. I realize that’s my choice, and not everyone feels comfortable with that. But I was the kind of person who back when we really had phone books and landlines and I lived alone in West Philly, I listed my whole female first name in the phone book. I always said you could tell the single woman by the fact that they just listed initials 😄

And if this person actually knows why Lavrik’s ban wasn’t posted, then good for her for sharing. I do not want to debate either, as I said I had a particular reason for wanting to know if USFS was officially not listing. So I apologize for the off topic comments in my OP.
 

twizzletoes76

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To above poster, I’m confused why someone’s “ban” should be posted if that person’s case has not even gone though full court proceedings. As far as I know, allegations were made against the coach you name but hearings (beyond an initial detention one) have yet to take place. In this instance, a suspension seems correct; if USFSA were to actually ban someone as you are suggesting they do without even waiting for full due process to take place, well then USFSA would, in my opinion, be acting unethically—which they are not. So, just remember we have a judicial system where a person is innocent until proven guilty (and, unfortunately, that system does take time) so let’s try to keep our own opinions in line with that and not rush to judge or condemn another before testimony has at least been heard and evaluated in court. Thank you.
 

5Ali3

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Why do you say "refuses"? Is there some sort of statement where USFS has said that they will not update their website or will not recognize the Safe Sport ban?
I've seen the email from U.S. Figure Skating. I am comfortable allowing my post history here at FSU to speak for my credibility on a matter that I can't back up with public documentation.

Someone with an open case knows how their case is working. They do not know, unless the confidentiality of the system has completely broken down or someone has confided in them, how someone else’s case is working. And just IME I have found Twitter on this particular subject to be full of arguing and accusing, but very little facts.:confused:
The person @Theoreticalgirl referenced on Twitter is clearly in contact with numerous victims from multiple sports as well as all of the "stakeholders" (USOC, USFS, USCSS, Congress, etc.). "Front row seat to the bungling" is a good description.

To above poster, I’m confused why someone’s “ban” should be posted if that person’s case has not even gone though full court proceedings. As far as I know, allegations were made against the coach you name but hearings (beyond an initial detention one) have yet to take place. In this instance, a suspension seems correct; if USFSA were to actually ban someone as you are suggesting they do without even waiting for full due process to take place, well then USFSA would, in my opinion, be acting unethically—which they are not. So, just remember we have a judicial system where a person is innocent until proven guilty (and, unfortunately, that system does take time) so let’s try to keep our own opinions in line with that and not rush to judge or condemn another before testimony has at least been heard and evaluated in court. Thank you.
This is not the procedure in place at the Center for SafeSport: an arrest for sexual abuse of a minor is a violation of the SafeSport Code and grounds for an immediate status of Ineligible. If you go to safesport.org and search either for Andrew Lavrik or search "figure skating," you'll see that his status is Ineligible. USFS is required to adopt that status: when the Center for SafeSport issues a decision that an individual is ineligible for membership in any USOC NGB, that applies to every USOC NGB. Andrew Lavrik is banned by the Center and therefore must be banned by USFS. You can debate whether it's fair to ban someone before their case is heard, but the rules are clear and USFS isn't following them. (Someone who is found "Ineligible" because of an arrest can file an appeal if they found not guilty or their charges are dropped. It is not identical to "Permanently Ineligible," which means the Center did an investigation themselves.)

The Andrei Berekhovski case in the OP is similar: an arrest warrant for sexual abuse of a minor is grounds for an immediate finding of Ineligibility by the Center.
 

Artistic Skaters

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USFS is doing a better job posting the non-SafeSport grievance cases, and that is a good sign they are making some efforts toward more transparency in the organization. Embezzlers and other such riff-raff at the club level will be very dismayed by this.
 

Theoreticalgirl

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USFS has updated their SafeSport page. Lavrik and Berekhovski are now banned. Kordale Bavor has been removed.
 
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twizzletoes76

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USFS has updated their SafeSport page. Lavrik and Berekhovski are now banned. Kordale Bavor has been removed.
Clarification, Theoreticalgirl: Lavrik and Berekhovski are not banned. The exact wording is that they are currently deemed ineligible as determined by the US center for Safesport. This looks like it is a new category than what I remember seeing the prior day as then I think there were only two categories: 1.) "suspended pending final hearing" and 2.) "permanently banned from US figure skating." That is why I wrote the previous comment--but perhaps better that I had never chimed in? What bothered me about what you and others posters in this thread seemed to be implying was that it was somehow negligent of US Figure Skating to not automatically list a coach as "permanently banned" just because a coach had charges pending against him. And, I stand by what I wrote before, until due process takes place and coaches accused of wrongdoings (no matter how circumstantial the evidence may appear) are given a chance to defend themselves in court, a status of "suspended" or "ineligible" is correct. A coach under a suspended or ineligible status is by definition prohibited (i.e. temporarily "banned") from working with USFSA members and participating in USFSA sponsored activities; and, by placing a coach under such categories, US figure skating is indeed showing that it is following all SafeSport rules and respecting the seriousness of charges reported. But, just to reiterate a status of "ineligible" is not the same as a "permanent ban" and USFSA does not "permanently ban" members based on reports and accusations alone.
 

5Ali3

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Clarification, Theoreticalgirl: Lavrik and Berekhovski are not banned. The exact wording is that they are currently deemed ineligible as determined by the US center for Safesport.
That's a ban.

This looks like it is a new category than what I remember seeing the prior day as then I think there were only two categories: 1.) "suspended pending final hearing" and 2.) "permanently banned from US figure skating."
Not a new category. Please read the SafeSport Code - not U.S. Figure Skating's SafeSport handbook, the actual SafeSport code - and spend sometime with the main disciplinary database at safesport.org. The Center began using "Ineligible" about a year ago or so. When you look at the main disciplinary database, you'll notice many, many statuses of "Ineligible" in other sports.

That is why I wrote the previous comment--but perhaps better that I had never chimed in?
There's enough misinformation going around about SafeSport: please don't add to it.

What bothered me about what you and others posters in this thread seemed to be implying was that it was somehow negligent of US Figure Skating to not automatically list a coach as "permanently banned" just because a coach had charges pending against him.
No, it is negligent of U.S. Figure Skating to refuse to adopt disciplinary measures enacted by the Center for SafeSport as U.S. Figure Skating is required to do by federal law.

And, I stand by what I wrote before, until due process takes place and coaches accused of wrongdoings (no matter how circumstantial the evidence may appear) are given a chance to defend themselves in court, a status of "suspended" or "ineligible" is correct.
What do you mean by "correct"? You are welcome to disagree philosophically with the SafeSport Code (I disagree with many of its provisions) and you are welcome to contact your Congressperson to advocate for changes to the SafeSport Code, but you can't redefine terms to fit your own beliefs.

A coach under a suspended or ineligible status is by definition prohibited (i.e. temporarily "banned") from working with USFSA members and participating in USFSA sponsored activities; and, by placing a coach under such categories, US figure skating is indeed showing that it is following all SafeSport rules and respecting the seriousness of charges reported.
Sigh. Let's unpack this.

"Suspended" and "Ineligible" are different statuses. "Ineligible" is a ban. It is a permanent status unless appealed. It can be appealed within five days or at a later date when there is a change of circumstances, such as a finding of "not guilty" or charges being dropped. "Suspended" is not a permanent status. There are two types of suspension. "Suspension" indicates a final decision that the appropriate punishment for a given situation is a temporary suspension. "Interim suspension" - which is what I believe you're referring to - is a temporary measure put into place after a preliminary investigation by the Center for SafeSport. "Suspension" and "Interim Suspension" are temporary statuses.

For the sake of the discussion: "Permanently Ineligible" is a ban. It is a permanent status unless appealed. It can be appealed within five days and is never eligible for a future appeal after those five days. (The appeal takes months to complete, but notice of the intention to appeal must be filed within five days. There is only one appeal possible and the window to ask for it closes after those initial five days.)

When the Center opened and started banning people based on criminal charges, I agreed with you that it was philosophically inappropriate to ban someone based on criminal charges, and then I realized/learned why the Center had created this additional status. Remember that criminal charges for certain types of offenses are a violation of the SafeSport Code and let's redefine those statuses from above. I'm going to ignore the "file an appeal within five days" thing in those redefinitions.

Interim Suspension: The Center for SafeSport has received credible allegations supported by a preliminary investigation and it appears you may be a danger to minors, so you are temporarily removed from your sport until a final decision at the end of the entire investigation. The Center for SafeSport has an open and ongoing investigation into your case. The Center for SafeSport has an ongoing responsibility for your case. Something is guaranteed to change in the case and the Center has responsibility for it.
Permanently Ineligible: The Center for SafeSport has conducted an investigation and concluded that you violated the SafeSport Code. The Center for SafeSport is done with you and you have no possibility of appeal (outside of the initial appeal filed within five days). The Center for SafeSport does not have ongoing responsibility for your case.
Ineligible: The Center for SafeSport has received the information and verified that you violated the SafeSport Code by having pending criminal charges that violate the SafeSport Code and that you are a "covered individual." The Center for Safesport is done with you unless/until you file an appeal when those criminal charges go away (whether by being dropped, found not guilty, etc.). The Center for SafeSport does not have ongoing responsibility for your case. It is possible for something to change in the case in the future and the accused has responsibility for it.

Why? Because how would the Center for SafeSport track hundreds of criminal matters that occur all over the country, which often take years to resolve? They are completely overwhelmed. It is taking months for cases to be assigned to investigators, and it is common that cases being investigated by the Center for SafeSport are taking well over a year to resolve. (I believe both Richard Callaghan's case and Steve Moore's case have been ongoing for 19-20 months from the time of the initial report.)

But, just to reiterate a status of "ineligible" is not the same as a "permanent ban" and USFSA does not "permanently ban" members based on reports and accusations alone.
Ineligible and permanently ineligible are both bans. Interim suspension is not a ban. You can disagree philosophically with the SafeSport Code, but it is what it is: U.S. Figure Skating needs to enforce it while advocating for changes if it disagrees with the Code.

However, you're correct that neither the Center for SafeSport nor USFS bans people based on "reports and accusations alone": criminal charges are way, way, way beyond "accusations." They are also way, way different from a legal finding of guilty, but if you think that criminal charges are based on "accusations" alone, I am jealous that you have that little experience with police investigations into sexual assault and sexual abuse: charges require a fairly high level of evidence - which may not be the same level of evidence required for a guilty finding in the end, but it's a whole lot more than "accusations."
 

el henry

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If USFS has been negligent, could I have the jurisdiction and civil action number of the case please? As an attorney who practices kinda sorta in this area, (ETA: NOT Safe Sport) there are many of my colleagues who would be chomping at the bit to file such an action, if only (sadly) for the publicity.

As someone who uses my real name on fora and social media, and who is set to “public” in all those areas, I’m afraid I’m not interested in secret sources :sekret:

But if anyone has links to public information, I would be happy to read it. Thank you.
 
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Artistic Skaters

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NY passed a "look back" law (effective today) that gives victims who were abused as children a one year window to pursue civil action no matter how long ago the abuse occurred. After that, civil action can be pursued until the victim reaches age 55. It allows for criminal action until the victim reaches age 28 (5 years longer than the previous law).
According to one of the news reports, four other states and DC also have look back laws in effect.
 

Artistic Skaters

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A long-time Boise figure skating coach appeared in federal court on Tuesday on child pornography charges.
Jonathan Schmidt, 40, was arrested in August after investigators said they found multiple files of child pornography in his home. Schmidt later admitted to watching and downloading child porn for "many years."
 

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