Keeping Track of Criminal Cases & SafeSport Suspensions in Skating

victorskid

Happily ignoring many pontificators & know-it-alls
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8,134
IF it's Bill Coyle, he's a coach in Florida.

ETA:

Persons Suspended Pending Final Hearing Panel Or U.S. Center For SafeSport Determination
Considering the nature of the charges and information provided with either the Grievance Statement or action taken by the U.S. Center for SafeSport, in accordance with the authority provided to the U.S. Figure Skating Ethics Committee Rule (ECR) 3.04 and pending a hearing contemplated by Article XXV, Section 1(B), or an action of the U.S. Center for SafeSport (Article XXV, Section 2) of the U.S. Figure Skating Bylaws, effective as of the date shown, membership in U.S. Figure Skating is suspended.

William Coyle

On July 20, 2021, the U.S. Center for SafeSport issued the following Sanction regarding William Coyle:

Sanction: Temporary Suspension. Beginning on July 20, 2021, William Coyle is prohibited from participating, in any capacity, in any event, program, activity, or competition authorized by, organized by, or under the auspices of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC), the National Governing Bodies recognized by the USOPC, a Local Affiliated Organization as defined by the Code, any High Performance Management Organization (HPMO), or at the facility under the jurisdiction of the same.

Pursuant to U.S. Figure Skating Bylaw Article XXV, Section 2, U.S. Figure Skating hereby adopts the Sanction imposed by the Center temporarily suspending William Coyle effective July 20, 2021.
Judge Three just clarified on Twitter that it is William ("Bill") Coyle in Ohio not Florida - "Bill Coyle is a longtime volunteer in Cleveland-area figure skating who served on the LOC for several Nationals/Junior Nationals, and has served on U.S. Figure Skating committees and on the board of Greater Cleveland Council of Figure Skating Clubs"
 

Lacey

Well-Known Member
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11,787
If anyone can find an explanation on the John Zimmerman winning his appeal and being removed from the U.S. Center for SafeSport database and US Figure Skating’s SafeSport list, please update and link.

I am sure it is definitive and now final, but I don't think I am out of line for asking.

Did the young woman or others not want to testify?
 
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tony

Well-Known Member
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10,027
I don’t know anything further about the exact reason for the decision/overturn, but I do know that there was additional information way back when, and it’s why I found issue with Brennan’s initial reporting and storytelling. This isn’t wildly surprising for me, and I’m not saying it in a way that supports any kind of abuse or people getting away with any kind of ‘anything’. I do believe, however, in the known facts being applied to make a fair decision.
 

Orm Irian

Well-Known Member
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1,217
Also from Judge Three on Twitter:

"John Zimmerman won his appeal and has been removed from the U.S. Center for SafeSport database and US Figure Skating’s SafeSport list."


There really aren't words for how angry I am about this.

He's a mandatory reporter. He's the first and last line of defence for the kids who train with him. He betrayed Ciprès's victims, all his students and the entire system of mandatory reporting for his own benefit and only got a slap on the wrist for it, and now they've even taken that back?

Yeah, nah. Burn this whole show to the ground.
 

Yuri

Well-Known Member
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468
I was beginning to wonder if John had been cleared in the SafeSport investigation when I saw this article last week:


It's a puff piece on the Wesley Chapel rink outside of Tampa with quotes primarily from John and Gordie Zimmerman. There is no mention of the controversies surrounding the rink. John's picture has been at the top of the figure skating coaches link on the AdventCare Health website the entire time on the Meet the Coaches page, but his bio remains deleted since his suspension.

 

VGThuy

Well-Known Member
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35,198
He's pretty and he went to the Olympics for the US and his wife is pretty? Beats the hell out of me....
Or the facts have come forward that wildly differ from Brennan's initial reporting.

Regarding Brennan, I know a lot of skating fans (especially ones who were too young or unborn during the Michelle/Tara rivalry who love Twitter, Tumblr, and Discord) think Brennan is doing God's work and anybody who criticizes her must be some sort of enabler of sexual abuse (because the world only works in extremes on the Internet), but I had my apprehensions and disappointment that Brennan was the only consistent reporter on figure skating abuse because she has a serious history of unethical or misleading reporting with tons of editorializing that really shifts and affects perceptions. I wouldn't mind her so much if there seemed to be another reporter who had better journalistic practices.
 

floridaice

Well-Known Member
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3,744
I was beginning to wonder if John had been cleared in the SafeSport investigation when I saw this article last week:


It's a puff piece on the Wesley Chapel rink outside of Tampa with quotes primarily from John and Gordie Zimmerman. There is no mention of the controversies surrounding the rink. John's picture has been at the top of the figure skating coaches link on the AdventCare Health website the entire time on the Meet the Coaches page, but his bio remains deleted since his suspension.

I live in the Orlando area and I saw a commercial for the rink on cable a few weeks ago. I was shocked when I saw it. It didn't mention coaches by name, but did say that Olympic level figure skaters trained there. Main emphasis was on hockey. It was on a regional sports station that covered the Stanley Cup.
 

tony

Well-Known Member
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10,027
Or the facts have come forward that wildly differ from Brennan's initial reporting.
In my own assessment of what I knew to be fact, I thought Brennan's reporting was very lopsided and leaving out plenty of pertinent information.
Regarding Brennan, I know a lot of skating fans (especially ones who were too young or unborn during the Michelle/Tara rivalry who love Twitter, Tumblr, and Discord) think Brennan is doing God's work and anybody who criticizes her must be some sort of enabler of sexual abuse (because the world only works in extremes on the Internet), but I had my apprehensions and disappointment that Brennan was the only consistent reporter on figure skating abuse because she has a serious history of unethical or misleading reporting with tons of editorializing that really shifts and affects perceptions. I wouldn't mind her so much if there seemed to be another reporter who had better journalistic practices.
And yes, especially this. A lot of younger people have grown up on social media and many all think they are being keyboard warriors 24/7, but they are so quick to assume everything is fact as soon as the accusations fly and that if you don't agree, you're part of whatever 'other side' they want it to be. That is, unless it's someone like Joe Biden, where we saw very much the opposite because of obvious pick-and-choose reasons. There should always be a thorough investigation IMO, plain and simple.

And since there has been repeated issue with me stating that there's more to this story since it first came out, recall that I called out Maurizi and Modlin for attempting to go after accusers in the Coughlin case just after his death - something that was not shared anywhere else. I'm not trying to defend any party or make any behavior 'okay', I just want people to understand that one article they read or one comment they saw isn't always as it seems.
 
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MacMadame

Staying at home
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42,612
I'm not trying to defend any party or make any behavior 'okay', I just want people to understand that one article they read or one comment they saw isn't always as it seems.
This is true but isn't Zimmerman a mandatory reporter? If so, if he didn't report, he needs to be disciplined. Regardless of other extenuating circumstances.
 

attyfan

Well-Known Member
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8,769
IMO, it is unfair not to release some information about why the suspension was lifted. It should make a difference if the suspension was lifted because of new information indicating innocence or mitigating circumstances (such as thinking the matter had been reported) or if was lifted because of some procedural matter.
 

Theatregirl1122

Needs a nap
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25,185
This is true but isn't Zimmerman a mandatory reporter? If so, if he didn't report, he needs to be disciplined. Regardless of other extenuating circumstances.

Mandated reporter laws vary state to state. In the state of Florida, "everyone" is legally mandated to report abuse, but professionally mandated reporters (legally obligated to report known abuse and identify themselves when reporting):
  • Physician, osteopathic physician, medical examiner, chiropractic physician, nurse, or hospital personnel engaged in the admission, examination, care, or treatment of persons;
  • Health or mental health professional;
  • Practitioner who relies solely on spiritual means for healing;
  • School teacher or other school official or personnel;
  • Social worker, day care center worker, or other professional child care, foster care, residential or institutional worker;
  • Law enforcement officer;
  • Judge
  • Mediators
Failure to report child abuse to DCF is a third degree felony.

Someone with legal knowledge would have to parse what the "everyone is a mandated reporter" part means. But based on that list, Zimmerman does not fall under my understanding of the definition of mandated reporter, no.
 

Artistic Skaters

Drawing Figures
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7,977
My problem with some of the above comments is that reports by Christine Brennan are not what was used to make the SafeSport decisions. Focusing on the particulars of the SafeSport decision, the process does not really seem to work effectively when parents and skaters are given conflicting information regarding serious issues followed by changes with little or no explanation. I certainly wish I felt otherwise after all that's gone into creating the SafeSport organization and processes, although it does seem to be working much better for some sports than others. Unfortunately figure skating appears to be in the latter group right now.

The cases that have been pursued in the courts (i.e. Larry Nassar, Michigan State gymnastics, Ohio State wrestling, etc) have been much more transparent and provide enough actual details so athletes and parents can make decisions. Until SafeSport has something more practical in place, civil and criminal suits are probably going to be the best bet to reference one by one in order to collect good information when it comes to protecting athletes. It will not be enough due to the number of incidents that go unreported to authorities or are viable options for civil suits.
 

overedge

G.O.A.T.
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I had my apprehensions and disappointment that Brennan was the only consistent reporter on figure skating abuse because she has a serious history of unethical or misleading reporting with tons of editorializing that really shifts and affects perceptions.

I have to disagree with this. She writes opinion pieces as well as doing regular reporting, and IMO it's inappropriate for her to do both because her opinions might colour how her reporting is perceived (even though I realize that doing both is more common than not in sports media). And a lot of her opinions seem to be along the lines of "why aren't things like when the Kween was around" which isn't really realistic - I mean, all hail the Kween, but that era is gone and the sport is a lot different now.

But her regular reporting is always well-sourced, and she lets each side have their say - not her fault if one side doesn't respond to requests or just says "no comment". If she was consistently unethical or misleading, very few sources would be talking to her at all, and/or she and USA Today would be getting sued.
 
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Debbie S

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Mandated reporter laws vary state to state. In the state of Florida, "everyone" is legally mandated to report abuse, but professionally mandated reporters (legally obligated to report known abuse and identify themselves when reporting):
True, but under USFS/SafeSport rules, all coaches are obligated to report abuse. So while Zimmerman may not have broken state laws, he did violate USFS and SafeSport policies so theoretically should be disciplined by those orgs.
 

okokok777

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121
Someone with legal knowledge would have to parse what the "everyone is a mandated reporter" part means. But based on that list, Zimmerman does not fall under my understanding of the definition of mandated reporter, no.

He is a mandated reporter. In Florida, there are two types of mandated reporters: general and professional. The list you are referring to are examples of professional mandated reporters. Furthermore, the Safe Sport Act of 2017 requires that he, as an adult authorized to interact with amateur athletes at an amateur sports organization facility, report suspected child abuse within 24 hours. Failure do so would make him "subject to criminal penalties".

In regards to the overturning of the suspension, it's both disappointing and not too surprising. I have a few theories as to how the arbitration panel came to their decision but since I haven't spoken with the involved parties re: it yet, it is all speculation.

For people who are interested in how past arbitration panels have gone, here are a few examples:

- Richard Callaghan (Lifetime Ban reduced to 3-year suspension, 15-year probation and 100 hours of community service. You can find the FSU thread on the decision here).

- Colin Burns (12 year suspension [10 years for sexual assault and 2 years for lying repeatedly to investigators] reduced to 18 months. The arbitration panel cited Dr. Kim Fromme's testimony (you may recognize her name from the Brock Turner criminal trial) that "individuals in alcohol-induced blackout are still capable of consenting to sex but have no memory of it" plus the fact that USA Weightlifting policies in April 2016 did not explicitly define "non-consensual sexual contact or require consent" for the reasons that they overturned his suspension for sexual assault. The Center did not provide a rebuttal witness to question Fromme's argument. Burns was still found liable of lying to SafeSport investigators over three different interviews in which he claimed that he never went into Roberts room. However, his 2 year suspension was reduced to 18 months.).

- Steven Lopez and Jean Lopez (Both had their lifetime bans fully overturned. Steven was found liable of sexually assaulting a 14 year old girl and Jean was found liable of sexually assaulting three women. None of the women appeared at the arbitration hearing. All of the women (and their attorneys) cited a preference to testify in court during their civil case depositions & dissatisfaction with the SafeSport process as reasons that they did not testify in-person at the hearings.)

- Alen Hadzic* (Note that this refers to a Temporary Measure Hearing - the others are all Merit Hearings. Hadzic was originally given a temporary suspension by SafeSport after at least three people reported him for sexual misconduct. Hadzic appealed the decision in order to attend the Tokyo Olympics & his suspension was lifted. However, USA Fencing implemented a "safety plan" to keep him away from women in the Olympic Village, including having him take a separate flight to Tokyo, having him stay in a hotel outside of the Village, and barring him from any practice with his women teammates. Several members of the US Olympic team were not happy with the decision. At the arbitration hearing, Katharine Holmes (an Olympic fencing team member) said she collected electronic signature from every team member for a document stating that Hadzic should not be allowed to participate at the Olympics. The US Men's Epee team (of which Hadzic is an alternate) all wore pink masks during their opening match. According to Ibtihaj Muhammad (a US fencer and Olympic Bronze Medalist), the masks were a show of support for sexual assault victims.)

- George Morris (Permanent ban was upheld. Morris was found liable of raping two teenage boys in the 1960s and 1970s. Both of the men testified at the arbitration hearing. According to public statements, Morris also threatened several witnesses and attempted to intimidate them into silence. The men have also filed civil suits against Morris and the US Equestrian Federation.)

I am fully in support of having an appeals process. However, I feel like SafeSport is doing a very poor job in defending their decisions.
 

Theatregirl1122

Needs a nap
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25,185
He is a mandated reporter. In Florida, there are two types of mandated reporters: general and professional. The list you are referring to are examples of professional mandated reporters.

I referenced the fact that "everyone" is a mandated reporter in the state of Florida (general) and said I didn't know what it meant, but you did not explain. Does this mean that, in the state of Florida, anyone who suspects abuse of any kind and does not report it is subject to criminal prosecution? That seems functionally impossible to prove. As a mandated reporter, they do a lot of training on what the standards are for reporting (any suspicion, don't do your own investigation, just report), etc. I can't imagine 100% of the general public is actually being held to the exact same legal standard as professional mandated reporters?

You are correct, though, I did look up only the state list of mandated reporters and did not realize that the Safe Sport Act was separate and listed "adults who are authorized to interact with minor or amateur athletes at an amateur sports organization facility or at an event sanctioned by a national governing body (NGB) or member of an NGB" although since it just says "is subject to criminal penalties" does that mean they are subject to the state's normal mandated reporting penalty? Or something else?

Either way, that does mean that, provided it is true that Zimmerman had any reason to suspect abuse whatsoever and did not report it, he should be facing criminal charges.
 

VGThuy

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35,198
Wasn’t there a police investigation happening regarding this incident? Maybe it has gone no where due to the same reasons why SafeSport failed to defend its initial decision in the appeal, lack of cooperation and rebuttal testimony.
 

okokok777

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I referenced the fact that "everyone" is a mandated reporter in the state of Florida (general) and said I didn't know what it meant, but you did not explain. Does this mean that, in the state of Florida, anyone who suspects abuse of any kind and does not report it is subject to criminal prosecution?

My apologies - I didn't understand the original question. "Everyone" is a mandated reporter in Florida. The only difference between professional and general reporters is that professionals are required to provide their name while general reporters can submit anonymously.

In my experience, failure to report is usually only charged in especially egregious cases. The standard to charge a general reporter is usually much higher than to charge a professional reporter.
 

overedge

G.O.A.T.
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30,408
I am fully in support of having an appeals process. However, I feel like SafeSport is doing a very poor job in defending their decisions.

If you don't feel you can answer this, I understand. But is the problem in SafeSport's decisions, i.e. the penalties not being justified by the evidence from the investigation and/or the hearings? Or are there procedural problems in the investigations that arbitrators are using as a reason to overturn SafeSport's decisions?

I'm also wondering how often arbitrators are overturning SafeSport decisions. You cited some of the cases where the decisions have been overturned, but does this happen regularly? Because if it does that's a major sign that something is not right with either the process or the outcomes.
 

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