New Brennan Article re: Zimmerman/Fontana & the Rink in USA Today

Doggygirl

Going through FS withdrawal after GPF
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I posted this in the "Abuse" thread, but it was suggested that a new thread be started.


New info that I was not previously aware of (but it's highly possible I could have missed it):

* Cipres was allowed by Zimmerman to coach the 13 year-old girl daily for a week immediately following the day where her parents showed Zimmerman the penis pictures sent by Cipres.

* Rink owner accused the 13 year-old girl of somehow being out of control and needing supervision.... (are you KIDDING ME????)
 

Rukia

A Southern, hot-blooded temperamental individual
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Ahh..... Does anyone else's ignore list prevent them from seeing the other thread?
You can turn on the updates for the thread so that it tells you when someone posts. Otherwise yes, I'd be missing it too.
 

Carolla5501

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Yep I can’t see it because I ignore the posters who started it. Sometimes you just have to miss things

If I had a child at that rink they would never step foot in there again. The rink Owner should not be allowed to be in a business where they are minors
 

Artistic Skaters

Drawing Figures
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Perhaps you could update the title of the thread with Zimmerman's name so people know it's about the coaching aspect of the offense and not just Cipres. There is value in a separate discussion about the coaching and rink issues. The comments in the article about allowing Cipres to coach the girl the day after being informed is going to add a lot more to the discussion.
* Rink owner accused the 13 year-old girl of somehow being out of control and needing supervision.... (are you KIDDING ME????)
It seems like this could be damaging when it comes to liability for both the coaches and the rink. It sounds like the rink owner believed the girl needed more supervision, yet they continued to accommodate her training with no follow-through and overlooked coaching misconduct (??)
 

Carolla5501

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It sounds like Cipres needed more supervision since he’s the one who allegedly committed a crime.
It sounds like everyone at that rink needs supervision!!

Apparently None of the adults at this rink including coaches, skaters or owners Have any sense of responsibility for their own actions
 

Artistic Skaters

Drawing Figures
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It sounds like Cipres needed more supervision since he’s the one who allegedly committed a crime.
Same for the coach Dispenza who was a direct contributor but hasn't been mentioned recently for whatever reason. Maybe he's busy planning the spring show for the rink - will they be premiering Lolita on Ice as they keep continuing to make a bad situation worse? :rolleyes:
 
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Amy L

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* Rink owner accused the 13 year-old girl of somehow being out of control and needing supervision.... (are you KIDDING ME????)
Ugh. Even if this girl is a disturbed sociopath, or is some kind of evil Chuckie doll creation, she was 13!! Illegal is illegal, yet they think this is all the fault of a child.

Cipres is a dude with a French accent and a nice body, he could find many willing dick pick recipients who are 18+. He got involved with a child because he wanted to, that's all there is to it.

Zimmeran and Fontana protected their pervy golden boy for a short-term goal. If they get into legal trouble or have their licenses suspended, it can derail their whole careers. Not that they wouldn't deserve it, but the shortsightedness of everything is truly baffling. I'm of a similar age as them, and I am a barely functioning adult. I can see how this is all fckd, but it seems like they were all, "we shut up that mouthy teen, we're good to go forever!!!"
 
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MacMadame

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I understand why Fontana and Zimmerman are still coaching because there is such a thing as due process and the investigation into them is ongoing. But I completely don't understand why Zimmerman let Cipres coach that girl for a week after finding out about the pics. The very first thing he should have done is assure the parents that he would keep them apart as much as was in his power and then follow through.
 

Jammers

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As much as i didn't like seeing Kevin meltdown at Europeans today seeing Silvia with her distraught face in the K&C almost felt like karma.
 

Vagabond

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As much as i didn't like seeing Kevin meltdown at Europeans today seeing Silvia with her distraught face in the K&C almost felt like karma.
Training at that rink, especially under any of the coaches involved in the matter has got to be hard on a skater. I would not be surprised if Fontana and Zimmerman's clients drift away, the elite ones after Worlds, the others maybe even before then.
 
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missing

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There's a lot about this Christine Brennan follow up article that I don't understand.

My recollection is Cipres sent the obscene pictures to this girl and one other. This girl's parents found out and went to Fontana's/Zimmerman's home to inform them of what had happened and to express their disapproval or dismay.

In another development, the lawyer for the girl and her family said that after Zimmerman was told about the alleged incident involving Cipres and the girl, he decided to allow Cipres to coach the girl one-on-one the following morning in a regularly scheduled training session. Those training sessions at the rink in Wesley Chapel, Florida went on for a week.

“Even after learning about the disturbing allegations, John Zimmerman continued to allow Morgan Cipres to have contact with this child,” attorney Andrea Lewis told USA TODAY Sports. “That’s just unfathomable.”


This is where I get confused. If F/Z knew the parents were upset, why would they allow Cipres to continue to coach the girl? Common sense would dictate that they keep him away from her. And if the girl was so upset about Cipres, why didn't she tell her parents (who already knew about the situation) that he'd been allowed to coach her? And if her parents were informed after the first or the second or the third or the fourth day of the coaching, why didn't they insist the training sessions stop?

The parents are paying the bill. They have financial control of the situation. It doesn't benefit F/Z to anger them further, and it's not exactly great parenting to allow Cipres' one on one coaching once they learned about it.

I'm with the lawyer on this one. I find it unfathomable also and I don't understand why Christine Brennan wrote an article without an explanation why the parents didn't stop the week long coaching.
 

Barbara Manatee

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There's a lot about this Christine Brennan follow up article that I don't understand.

My recollection is Cipres sent the obscene pictures to this girl and one other. This girl's parents found out and went to Fontana's/Zimmerman's home to inform them of what had happened and to express their disapproval or dismay.
The original story said that it was the other coach, Dispenza, who told Fontana and Zimmerman about the photos the same night that they'd been sent.
On Dec. 3, 2017, Cipres allegedly direct messaged two photos of his penis on Instagram to the girl, who skated at the same rink as Cipres in Wesley Chapel, Fla. [...] Zimmerman and Fontana, who are married to each other, were made aware of the photos in a meeting with Dispenza at their home that evening, the girl and her parents said.
It isn't clear to me when the girl's parents found out, but it may not have been until after the coaching sessions.

ETA: Okay, this quote from the girl's tutor suggests her parents did not know what had happened for some time.
“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.”
 
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missing

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The original story said that it was the other coach, Dispenza, who told Fontana and Zimmerman about the photos the same night that they'd been sent. It isn't clear to me when the girl's parents found out, but it may not have been until after the coaching sessions.

ETA: Okay, this quote from the girl's tutor suggests her parents did not know what had happened for some time.
Okay, the explains things. The girls' parents found out about Dispenza and may not have immediately contacted F/Z who might not have understood the gravity of the situation, and thus allowed Cipres to continue coaching the girl for a full week thereafter, without the girl notifiying her parents, with the girl, for a variety of reasons, not refusing the additional week of coaching.
 

nimi

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The original story said that it was the other coach, Dispenza, who told Fontana and Zimmerman about the photos the same night that they'd been sent. It isn't clear to me when the girl's parents found out, but it may not have been until after the coaching sessions.

ETA: Okay, this quote from the girl's tutor suggests her parents did not know what had happened for some time.
Thanks for clarifying!

The timeline is pretty confusing, below is my attempt to parse it together based on Brennan's articles for USA Today:
1. Olympic figure skater, coaches being investigated for sexual abuse allegations (Dec10)
2. Olympic figure skater accused of sexual abuse apologized to girl's mother (Dec30)
3. Figure skating struggles with sexual abuse allegations in year since shocking death (Jan17, a recap article with additional comments from Ashley Wagner and rink owner Gordie Zimmermann)
4. Coach accused of sex abuse coverup allowed to work figure skating nationals (Jan22)
On Dec. 3, 2017, Cipres allegedly direct messaged two photos of his penis on Instagram to the girl, who skated at the same rink as Cipres in Wesley Chapel, Fla. (1.)
While Zimmerman and Fontana were the girl’s official coaches, Cipres occasionally worked with her. (4.)
The girl and her parents said a fourth adult also was involved in the alleged incident. Vinny Dispenza, another coach at the AdventHealth Center Ice rink, allegedly told the girl and another underage girl, whose family could not be reached for comment, to message Cipres asking him to send the photos to the girls in exchange for the promise of a pizza from Dispenza.

Zimmerman and Fontana (...) were made aware of the photos in a meeting with Dispenza at their home that evening, the girl and her parents said. (1.)
In another development, the lawyer for the girl and her family said that after Zimmerman was told about the alleged incident involving Cipres and the girl, he decided to allow Cipres to coach the girl one-on-one the following morning in a regularly scheduled training session. Those training sessions at the rink in Wesley Chapel, Florida went on for a week. (4.)
The mother of a 13-year-old American female figure skater who allegedly was sent two lewd photos from French Olympic pairs skater Morgan Cipres in 2017 told USA TODAY Sports that she received a lengthy apology from Cipres nearly four weeks after the alleged incident. (2.)
Cipres did not say why he was apologizing or what he specifically did that he believed required an apology.(2.)
[Cipres] added this (…): “I’m ready to come to meet you in person face to face to speak about it if you can tomorrow.”

The child’s parents declined Cipres’ offer to meet, the family’s attorney, Andrea Lewis, told USA TODAY Sports on Saturday. (2.)
Cipres’ apology arrived just hours after the girl’s tutor emailed the girl’s psychologist, Dara Bushman, who not only worked with the girl, but also worked with Cipres, James and about a dozen other skaters at AdventHealth Center Ice in Wesley Chapel, Fla. (2.)
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.” (1.)
Bushman told USA TODAY Sports that after receiving the email, she first called the girl’s mother, then made calls to Child Protective Services and Zimmerman and Fontana. (2.)
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. (1.)
On Aug. 10, 2019, a friend of the family reported the allegation to SafeSport after reading three-time U.S. champion and 2014 Olympic team bronze medalist Ashley Wagner’s story of alleged sexual abuse in USA TODAY Sports on Aug. 1. (1.)
Links to previous GSD threads:
Cipres accused of sexual misconduct
Cipres/FFSG Press Release on the situation 12-16-2019

Hope this helps!
 
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Carolla5501

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I feel like there’s an attempt to blame the author of the article to find an excuse for the coaches actions.

Let’s step back here, they did not do the right things when they found out about this act.

It’s possible Zimmermann did not know when he allowed Cipres to coach the young woman. That’s not an excuse for not doing the right thing once they did know.
 

puglover

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I worked for Child and Family Services for many years and, at least here, the mandate for those in positions such as coaches is very clear. They are to report all "suspicions of child abuse or neglect". They do not investigate it themselves. It can be challenging to report - but report they must! This feels to me like they tried to keep it "in-house" - we think this or that about the girl, we greatly value our star athlete and don't want anything negative to affect him and his partner's success, he has apologized, she needs to know the calamity that will befall her if she does not keep quiet about this.
 

nimi

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For those watching US Nats on NBC: Have they said anything about the Ciprès case and Zimmerman's role in it, or are they keeping quiet?
 

once_upon

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For those watching US Nats on NBC: Have they said anything about the Ciprès case and Zimmerman's role in it, or are they keeping quiet?
NBC Sports Gold didn't have commentary last night during pairs, so no there. Not sure about NBCSN.
 

Karen-W

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NBC Sports Gold didn't have commentary last night during pairs, so no there. Not sure about NBCSN.
It was mentioned briefly by Terry but nothing new. No editorializing by any of the broadcast team, just that an investigation was underway.
 

MacMadame

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They focused the camera on him in the Kiss 'n Cry and explains the whole situation in detail, which surprised me, but also made me happy. I thought they'd kind of pass over it with the minimal explanation. They did say photos of a "sexual nature" instead of "dick pics". But I assume the later would have been bleeped out.
 

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