SafeSport alleges "culture of grooming and abuse" in U.S. figure skating

Moustaffask8r

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SafeSport said there is “a culture in figure skating that allowed grooming and abuse to go unchecked for too long."

I would expect it is applied here because during their investigation, SafeSport found that little if anything is done to prevent grooming and abuse in skating and little or no action taken when grooming and abuse occurs.

I would also assume that most (maybe not the vast majority) skater interactions are fine, but I think the question is what happens when skater interactions aren't fine? How does the USFS as an organization respond to this? Does the organization enforce ethical standards or turn a blind eye? Do people intervene or do they simply pretend not to see?

It seems kind of obvious to me that the USFS as an organization is not inclined to address such issues, but that might just be bias on my part, as I think the USFS has proven in multiple ways on multiple issues that problems are best addressed by pretending they don't exist.
USFS has proven in multiple ways on multiple issues that problems are best addressed by pretending they don't exist
I would stay the entire skating community is like that this is not specific to USFSA. They don't want to see the problem or attack the problem because it's not good for the sport's image!!! And they are right... SafeSport is there to address some issues that have been going on for a while and look at the number of people who are blaming them right now.
Changing the mind set of a whole community is really hard it take time and patience and it will hurt and might touch people we admire. It's like getting rid of a tumor... painful but necessary
 

Willin

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SafeSport said there is “a culture in figure skating that allowed grooming and abuse to go unchecked for too long."

I would expect it is applied here because during their investigation, SafeSport found that little if anything is done to prevent grooming and abuse in skating and little or no action taken when grooming and abuse occurs.

I would also assume that most (maybe not the vast majority) skater interactions are fine, but I think the question is what happens when skater interactions aren't fine? How does the USFS as an organization respond to this? Does the organization enforce ethical standards or turn a blind eye? Do people intervene or do they simply pretend not to see?

It seems kind of obvious to me that the USFS as an organization is not inclined to address such issues, but that might just be bias on my part, as I think the USFS has proven in multiple ways on multiple issues that problems are best addressed by pretending they don't exist.
Certainly, at least in the US, one of the biggest issues is how spread out everything is. Not only do you have USFSA rinks, you have ISI rinks as well, US Hockey rinks that have freestyle sessions, and many more rinks unaffiliated with any specific skating organization. So, even if skaters know who to report to in theory, they may not know exactly which organization is responsible to. And even if one organization sanctions someone (eg. USFS), an ISI (though they may find out via PSA sanctions), US Hockey, or unaffiliated rink may be unaware of a sanction and we may get to the problem seen in gymnastics and other youth sports where known predators rink-hop.
There's also the entrenched thing in skating (and again, most youth sports) where you almost always report to or talk with local people before reporting something to the national body. Maybe it's because some parents don't want to escalate, maybe it's because it's seen as a local issue, maybe it's because they are more comfortable talking to someone they know than a nebulous governing body, maybe it's because they don't know what (if anything) a non-local organization will actually do about their situation.
So I do think there is some room for USFSA to be let off the hook here - they may simply not be aware of all cases or in enough control to stop predators from coaching or skating.

What I've seen, not in abuse cases - I haven't seen any of those luckily - but in other cases of coach/parent issues, is that things are talked about and handled locally. Sometimes it works out because the coach/skater/parent rink hops either voluntarily or being forced out; sometimes it's because the locals discourage reporting. Usually it is easy or possible to handle on a local level. But either way there's often a feeling that there's no need to report it Nationally.
I've also seen that a lot of skaters across the country (at least in synchro, and perhaps especially in synchro; small rinks or ISI/USFS combo rinks as well) are completely disillusioned with USFSA. There's a feeling that they only care about their most successful athletes/coaches/rinks and that they couldn't give a **** about anyone else. Things like recent synchro rule changes, not condemning things like Dalilah's statements in the Coughlin case, less officials being appointed outside of the inside circles, their incessant celebration of certain individuals and accomplishments over others, and other events back up this view in some minds. That means that there isn't much trust in the first place, let alone trust in USFSA's ability to handle these cases, if they even care that they happened in a non-major center. So why would anyone bother to report it to them? So in that sense I think USFSA has some responsibility: if they really want to make people think they care or are going to handle things appropriately, they need to do a better job of actually acting.

USFS has proven in multiple ways on multiple issues that problems are best addressed by pretending they don't exist
I would stay the entire skating community is like that this is not specific to USFSA. They don't want to see the problem or attack the problem because it's not good for the sport's image!!! And they are right... SafeSport is there to address some issues that have been going on for a while and look at the number of people who are blaming them right now.
Changing the mind set of a whole community is really hard it take time and patience and it will hurt and might touch people we admire. It's like getting rid of a tumor... painful but necessary
Yup. It's not just a USFS thing. All of skating (and sports in general) are perfectly fine to ignore very real problems in the sport as long as they don't get bad press for it. Although the US is going through this period right now I'd fully expect stuff to come out about Russian, Chinese, French, Italian, Finnish, Canadian, Japanese, British, German, Korean, and pretty much every other skating country there ever was.
 

Japanfan

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Still, gathering from what's been going on in this thread, I'm going to take a wild, unpopular guess and say that I think at his best, John Coughlin was a better person than a lot of people posting in this thread. His actions, his words and his generosity toward others testified to by many prove that. And that is still the case, no matter whatever else bad he may have done unintentionally or intentionally.
'Wild' would be the operative word, as you probably don't know any of the posters here IRL (or know a few from skating events?) and didn't know John.

In any case, I do include myself as someone who does not live up to the generous and caring person John Coughlin was known to be by practically everyone who knew him well.
No disrespect to John, but when someone dies, those who knew that individual often exaggerate their good qualities. So, it may not really be fair to compare oneself to what is said about an individual who has passed on.
 

once_upon

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But survivors do know people make false accusations
Or survivors know they will be accused of making false accusations and just don't report because people believe they are false. Particularly if the named perp is a well liked coach. So yeah, keep telling yourself that. Victims are lining up to tell their stories with falsehood :rolleyes:
 

Prancer

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Certainly, at least in the US, one of the biggest issues is how spread out everything is. Not only do you have USFSA rinks, you have ISI rinks as well, US Hockey rinks that have freestyle sessions, and many more rinks unaffiliated with any specific skating organization.
Hmm, interesting.

I have always thought that a lot of the problems with skating (and not just the USFS) is that it is such a relatively small, socially incestuous, and pretty closed world. I took a class in religious cults and sects a few years ago and one of the things we discussed was how closed societies must engage in a lot of informal internal tolerance in order to maintain cohesion. One example given was the Amish and smoking. The Amish are not allowed to smoke, but a number of Amish get hooked on nicotine during Rumspringa and continue to smoke. The community will pretend not to know this and no one ever mentions it. Smoking is relatively innocuous, of course, but major issues like domestic violence and abuse within the community are tolerated to some degree and always seen as problems for the community, which means that some cases are ignored and some people are counseled and rarely does anyone go outside the community.

At the time, I thought of skating.

Although the US is going through this period right now I'd fully expect stuff to come out about Russian, Chinese, French, Italian, Finnish, Canadian, Japanese, British, German, Korean, and pretty much every other skating country there ever was.
There have been a number of stories out there already, but yes--I see this coming as well.
 

aftershocks

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... when someone dies, those who knew that individual often exaggerate their good qualities.
Hmmm, it seems to me that people who knew John Coughlin are speaking from their hearts, or remaining silent now for fear of being accused of hating on victims of abuse and causing them not to come forward.

Unsurprisingly, it looks like the defined thread topic is straying again into finger-pointing and emotional excess...
 

Vagabond

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Hmmm, it seems to me that people who knew John Coughlin are speaking from their hearts, or remaining silent now for fear of being accused of hating on victims of abuse and causing them not to come forward.
That's it. Turn victims into victimizers.

Three people who knew John Coughlin well filed complaints with SafeSport accusing him of sexual misconduct -- complaints that, if made maliciously and if John Coughlin had lived, could have subjected them to liability for defamation.
 

gkelly

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Hmm, interesting.

I have always thought that a lot of the problems with skating (and not just the USFS) is that it is such a relatively small, socially incestuous, and pretty closed world.
Elite skating, yes.

But most rinks and most coaches do not produce national competitors. Bad things can happen there as well, as Willin notes.

Even in more elite environments, there's no one who oversees what happens all professional interactions between coaches and students, let alone what happens off the ice or between skaters on or off the ice.

Gossip surely permeates within rinks and from rink to rink. But not in any systematic manner.
 

aftershocks

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That's it. Turn victims into victimizers.

Three people who knew John Coughlin well filed complaints with SafeSport accusing him of sexual misconduct -- complaints that, if made maliciously and if John Coughlin had lived, could have subjected them to liability for defamation.
Sigh. That's it, continue with bickering and thread drift. I have not accused victims of doing anything to anyone. Can you comprehend written text, or do you just see red when you view my posts? Regarding the Coughlin case, from what I've seen reported, one person came forward (not a minor). Then SafeSport began their investigation and made it publicly known as part of their guidelines. Apparently weeks later, a third party came forward to make a claim involving Coughlin having dated two minors, said to have occurred around 15 or so years ago when he would have been 18-years-old.

As others have posted above, the thread topic was started to discuss SafeSport's report about 'grooming and abuse' in figure skating, not specifically the Coughlin case, since not enough is known in detail about the allegations against him.
 

mollymgr

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If the sport doesn't fix itself, the problems will eventually "fix" the sport (by its demise or a drastic change). While a lot of things were probably accepted and tolerated in society several years ago, victims have come forward in recent times in examples of sports (Gymnastics), entertainment (Hollywood), media (NBC) to put an end to it or at least show by example that it is ok to come forward and address it. They have sent a message that this kind of behavior has gone on too long and needs to end. In these cases, it was clear that the communities where this behavior was allowed to go on had built a culture of abuse and secrecy.
 

wickedwitch

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So if you were the USFSA, how would you try and deal with this?

First, I'd also say something about working with SafeSport. Victims might not be as comfortable coming forward while others don't trust in SafeSport's process. Both are issues that need to be addressed ASAP. Even if it's just minor cosmetic changes don't fundamentally make a large difference, if they make people in the skating community more comfortable with SafeSport, then they are worth doing.

After that, I think an anonymous survey might be a good next step. The only identifying factors would be age range and gender and possibly discipline and competitive level. Ask questions about both what they've experience and witnessed. It would give them a sense of the scale of the problem.
 

Willin

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Hmm, interesting.

I have always thought that a lot of the problems with skating (and not just the USFS) is that it is such a relatively small, socially incestuous, and pretty closed world. I took a class in religious cults and sects a few years ago and one of the things we discussed was how closed societies must engage in a lot of informal internal tolerance in order to maintain cohesion. One example given was the Amish and smoking. The Amish are not allowed to smoke, but a number of Amish get hooked on nicotine during Rumspringa and continue to smoke. The community will pretend not to know this and no one ever mentions it. Smoking is relatively innocuous, of course, but major issues like domestic violence and abuse within the community are tolerated to some degree and always seen as problems for the community, which means that some cases are ignored and some people are counseled and rarely does anyone go outside the community.

At the time, I thought of skating.



There have been a number of stories out there already, but yes--I see this coming as well.
Elite skating is highly insular and I'd agree that many of the problems there probably have to do with the small social circles and limited outside perspective.

But as @gkelly said, more than 90% of rinks in this country don't produce elite singles skaters (I consider elite synchro a different beast). Generally, as I said in my post, USFS could care less about literally all of these rinks.
And even of the <10% that do produce elite skaters, many are outside of the USFS gossip arena. My old rink produced quite a few national-level competitors that were scouted by USFS and even a couple international ones, but since only one of our coaches is in any way well-connected, USFS probably doesn't even know the rink's name. Even in LA where people are more well connected and plenty of national and international competitors train accusations don't often reach HQ, if only because there's too many rinks and not enough people willing to report - that is, even if the well-connected people cared enough, which I find they usually don't. The ones that want to report are generally those without the power to do so or those who don't feel they have the power.
The only places I've seen gossip or accusations make it back to HQ and have consequences are places like Detroit where there's one or two rinks that both all the gossip filters to and has powerful people who care, and Colorado Springs, where the majority of the drama takes place at a rink USFS's most well-connected people frequent and coach at.
 

Tinami Amori

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Elite skating is highly insular and I'd agree that many of the problems there probably have to do with the small social circles and limited outside perspective.
I am not making any arguments towards your comments. Only using this phrase because it relates to the what i found on the situation of "sexual relationships at a rink/place of operation".

I keep reading a lot info on the subject, and pretty much narrowed down what bothers me about USFS's "code of ethics" on "personal relationship". I am in full support when the rules are to protect members from various forms of abuse and manipulation. I have a problem with the "scope of rules" and what situations they cover or prohibit, because some situations that are covered/prohibited are not "harm" of any kind.

I am talking about consensual relationship between legal adults, who are NOT "under contract" to each other (skater-coach for example), yet operate in the same facility (an legal age skater/coach of other skaters, two legal age skaters, etc.).

I searched many "codes of ethics" articles and formats, and found materials on "fraternizing policies" at work places. Here is one example where such interactions are encouraged, with-in reason and some restrictions (ok, as long as they are consensual, and not between between a manager and a reporting staff member.)
https://www.thebalancecareers.com/fraternization-policy-sample-1918896

The dating or fraternization policy adopted by an organization reflects the culture of the organization. Employee-oriented, forward-thinking workplaces recognize that one of the places that employees meet their eventual spouse or partner is at work.

These relationships make sense because of the commonalities that co-workers share such as proximity to work, the actual work, the amount of time one spends at work, and the interests underlying one's career chose.

Friendships and romances can also affect the workplace positively adding to the sense of teamwork and camaraderie. But, relationships can also go awry and result in friction and conflict at work. It can affect the team, the department, and even the mood of the organization when stress permeates the air.

And some aspects...
https://www.thebalancecareers.com/tips-about-dating-sex-and-romance-at-work-1916861
 
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attyfan

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IMO, there is a huge difference between "organization X's rules are overbroad and should be changed" and "individual y, subject to these rules should not be punished for violating them". If members of organization X want to change the rules, they need to get active in that organization and try to change them ... not simply ignore them or refuse to enforce them until they are changed. .

Also, many large organizations prefer hard and fast bright line rules precisely because they lead to fewer problems ... it is easier, for example, to restrict relationships between people in the same direct line of authority than to create a rule that allows more freedom or flexibility.

That said, I would like to see Safe Sport's mandate be narrowed. When an accusation of a criminal offense is made (or when an investigation reveals grounds for such an accusation), I think the matter should only be investigated by law enforcement, as SafeSport may not be trained in developing evidence to use in criminal cases. In such cases, SafeSport's hypothetical notice might read "coach q is suspended following an accusation of a criminal offense; the matter has been turned over to [insert name of applicable agency] for investigation." SafeSport should limit its reach to those matters that are "unprofessional" but not criminal.
 

MacMadame

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That said, I would like to see Safe Sport's mandate be narrowed. When an accusation of a criminal offense is made (or when an investigation reveals grounds for such an accusation), I think the matter should only be investigated by law enforcement, as SafeSport may not be trained in developing evidence to use in criminal cases. In such cases, SafeSport's hypothetical notice might read "coach q is suspended following an accusation of a criminal offense; the matter has been turned over to [insert name of applicable agency] for investigation." SafeSport should limit its reach to those matters that are "unprofessional" but not criminal.
I would be onboard with that. They have (very) limited resources and there is no need for duplication in this area.

In the "against professional code of conduct" area, there needs to be an independent body because the varioud sports governing bodies have demonstrated time and time again that they are incapable of policing their own.
 

Tinami Amori

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I never had a problem with what SafeSport did or does, they are an appointed legitimate organization. They follow procedures. The procedures seem fine, they receive complaints, they put names on the list, they start an investigation where both parties have options to reply. The list of names is there, on their website, people can access the website if they are interested..... I do have a problem with people like Brennan and Dave Lease who sensationalize a particular issue to create attention and popularity for their publications and their personas.

As to "code of ethics" in USFS... i think it needs to be reviewed, seriously.... and designed only to protect those who are in "harmful situations", and not because of "christian morals and preoccupations with assumed and imagined evils of sex".

It would also be good to have a system that better controls or filters "who, why, when" reports, and to find a way to eliminate "bias", "insincere" and "self-serving" reasons.

At this point, in regards to this situation, i am still thinking about "moments" from "Patons Place", "Crucible", Dreyfus affair...
 

Artistic Skaters

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Can we please stop talking about John Coughlin?
IndyStar has an op-ed about problems with awareness one year after the federal SafeSport act. It's main focus is on getting the word out. It mentions Nasser only time and Coughlin zero.

*** Federal law exists to protect children from sexual abuse in youth sports :
https://www.indystar.com/story/opin...hildren-sexual-abuse-youth-sports/3107705002/
Owners and managers of youth sports organizations that participate in interstate and international competitions need to know that what was once considered ‘best practices’ in child sexual abuse prevention and response is now federal law.

Parents need to know what is now expected of the adults running or volunteering with the sports teams on which their children play, regarding athlete protection.

And, prosecutors need to know the fullest extent of the law they can prosecute alleged child sexual abuse cases in youth sports.

These covered organizations and any adult they authorize to interact with a minor amateur athlete must now report to local law enforcement known or a reasonable suspicion of child abuse within 24 hours (the federal law requires reporting to local law enforcement, not the coach or sports organization leadership). Additionally, these covered organizations are now required to have policies, procedures and training for child sexual abuse prevention and response. This is required, not recommended.
 

Prancer

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IMO, there is a huge difference between "organization X's rules are overbroad and should be changed" and "individual y, subject to these rules should not be punished for violating them". If members of organization X want to change the rules, they need to get active in that organization and try to change them ... not simply ignore them or refuse to enforce them until they are changed.
Yes. Or else people need to stop agreeing to abide by those rules. Yes, it would limit your job prospects, but if you aren't willing to do what is required by the job, then you shouldn't do that job.

The time to complain is BEFORE you agree to comply.

many large organizations prefer hard and fast bright line rules precisely because they lead to fewer problems ... it is easier, for example, to restrict relationships between people in the same direct line of authority than to create a rule that allows more freedom or flexibility.
This, too. There are a lot of probolems with zero tolerance policies, but there are also problems with trying to allow flexibility. Everyone wants to be an exception and it's difficult if not impossible to be fair when making judgment calls.

In the "against professional code of conduct" area, there needs to be an independent body because the varioud sports governing bodies have demonstrated time and time again that they are incapable of policing their own.
Isn't that one of the issues with SafeSport, though, as it is funded by the sports organziations it investigates?
 
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In such cases, SafeSport's hypothetical notice might read "coach q is suspended following an accusation of a criminal offense; the matter has been turned over to [insert name of applicable agency] for investigation." SafeSport should limit its reach to those matters that are "unprofessional" but not criminal.
Are you suggesting that law enforcement turn over its investigative materials to SafeSport, regardless of the determination whether to proscecute, and if proscecuted, what the jury verdict is?

I don't see why they'd do that, and standards of evidence and reasonable doubt for a criminal trial and adminstrative procedures can be very different.
 

MacMadame

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Isn't that one of the issues with SafeSport, though, as it is funded by the sports organziations it investigates?
Can you elaborate? I have seen no issues with SafeSport being beholden to a particular GB of a particular sport and therefore being willing to sweep complaints under the rug or otherwise not deal with them in good faith. I have seen issues like that when a GB is given a complaint directly.

I thought SS reported to the USOC and got its funding from the USOC and that each sport gave money to the USOC so that a particular organization (say USFS) wasn't funding SS directly. Am I wrong about this?
 

attyfan

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Are you suggesting that law enforcement turn over its investigative materials to SafeSport, regardless of the determination whether to proscecute, and if proscecuted, what the jury verdict is?

I don't see why they'd do that, and standards of evidence and reasonable doubt for a criminal trial and adminstrative procedures can be very different.
No. Instead, I think that SafeSport needs to turn over its materials to law enforcement and let law enforcement proceed. SafeSport should be involved only if no crime is involved (whether that is determined by law enforcement or by a verdict). The Fifth and Sixth amendments of the US constitution apply to criminal trials, but not to administrative procedures. Furthermore, administrative procedures don't get people stuck in prison. Therefore, the standards between the two are quite different.
 

once_upon

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As to "code of ethics" in USFS... i think it needs to be reviewed, seriously.... and designed only to protect those who are in "harmful situations", and not because of "christian morals and preoccupations with assumed and imagined evils of sex".
I don't believe I am concerned about situations because of "Christian morals and preoccupation with assumed and imagine evils of sex". My objections are the position of power and not abiding by standards that they agree to as a coach/teacher etc.. I worked in a field with children's health, saw some relationships based on inequality of power and i feel that any sexual or friendship or relationship should have the participants as equals. It's not my religious beliefs driving that, it's from our societal norms and our laws (age of consent).

When people are engaged in a coaching relationship with a skater (insert any sport, or classroom settings) they have power over them. Even if the coach has recuse themselves as their individual coaching relationship, there is still a level of power staying in that training center (maybe a better training schedule, access to primary coach, etc.)

If they wish to have a personal sexual relationship (from romantic hugs/kisses to actual sex or falling in love), they have a responsibility to end that coaching relationship including part of the training camp and wait to start that intimate relationship after age of consent for BOTH parties involved.

My objections are that relationships have partners in that relationship as equals. And that goes for any sexual relationship - whether or not it is coaching/teaching/life.
 

VIETgrlTerifa

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I think we can have deeper conversations about sexual maturity, American attitudes towards sex vs. European and other cultures that tend to be more lenient, what we know about brain development of adults, etc. However, since we’re dealing with a sport that has many children participants and parents are entrusting their children to other adults, I can see why it’d be in the best interest for organizations to take a more hardlined approach.
 
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SafeSport should be involved only if no crime is involved (whether that is determined by law enforcement or by a verdict). The Fifth and Sixth amendments of the US constitution apply to criminal trials, but not to administrative procedures. Furthermore, administrative procedures don't get people stuck in prison. Therefore, the standards between the two are quite different.
So why on Earth would SafeSport agree not to proceed with administrative sanctions just because a case is criminal?

Example A.: I'm a 23-year-old coach in a relationship with a student 17 or over in a state where that is legal. SafeSport sanctions me for violating it's rules.

Example B: I'm a 23-year-old coach in a relationship with a 15-year-old. The 15-year-old goes to the police who decide it was he-said/she-said. Or they send it to a proscecutor who decides not to prosecute. Or there is a trial, and key evidence is considered inadmissible. Or there is a hung jury. Or there is a conviction, but the judge decides on a suspended sentence, because he doesn't want to ruin blind blond boy's life. The coach is allowed to coach because SafeSport has passed it on.

If I were the coach in Example A, I would sue.
 
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attyfan

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So why on Earth would SafeSport agree not to proceed with administrative sanctions just because a case is criminal?

Example A.: I'm a 23-year-old coach in a relationship with a student 17 or over in a state where that is legal. SafeSport sanctions me for violating it's rules.

Example B: I'm a 23-year-old coach in a relationship with a 15-year-old. The 15-year-old goes to the police who decide it was he-said/she-said. Or they send it to a proscecutor who decides not to prosecute. Or there is a trial, and key evidence is considered inadmissible. Or there is a hung jury. Or there is a conviction, but the judge decides on a suspended sentence, because he doesn't want to ruin blind boy's life. The coach is allowed to coach because SafeSport has passed it on.

If I were the coach in Example A, I would sue.
My idea is that SafeSport may impose discipline only when it is clear there is no criminal proceedings - whenever that determination is made -- or the criminal proceedings are at an end (i.e., the fact of the conviction, even with a suspended sentence) would justify discipline. Based on a variety of cases, it is more likely that a criminal case can get messed up by the results of administrative proceedings than vice versa .
 

IceAlisa

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So why on Earth would SafeSport agree not to proceed with administrative sanctions just because a case is criminal?

Example A.: I'm a 23-year-old coach in a relationship with a student 17 or over in a state where that is legal. SafeSport sanctions me for violating it's rules.

Example B: I'm a 23-year-old coach in a relationship with a 15-year-old. The 15-year-old goes to the police who decide it was he-said/she-said. Or they send it to a proscecutor who decides not to prosecute. Or there is a trial, and key evidence is considered inadmissible. Or there is a hung jury. Or there is a conviction, but the judge decides on a suspended sentence, because he doesn't want to ruin blind boy's life. The coach is allowed to coach because SafeSport has passed it on.

If I were the coach in Example A, I would sue.
Wow, this is definitely something to think about
 
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I understand what you are saying: there's mandatory reporting where there is legal activity that violated professional standards. However, only if the victim cooperates, and his/her parents allow charges to go forward in the case of a minor, and depending on the police, proscecutor and jury, there is the possibility of protecting the rest of the coach's students .
 

gkelly

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When people are engaged in a coaching relationship with a skater (insert any sport, or classroom settings) they have power over them. Even if the coach has recuse themselves as their individual coaching relationship, there is still a level of power staying in that training center (maybe a better training schedule, access to primary coach, etc.)
There are a lot of different kinds of coaching relationships and training relationships that take place within figure skating with different dynamics, sometimes in the same rink or involving some of the same people.

A training center might have elite coaches training would-be elite competitors, where the coaches control access to ice time and to their own expertise and perhaps access to monitoring etc. by officials that would help in the pursuit of a successful elite competitive career. In those cases, the coaches have a lot of power over their students.

Less elite coaches, perhaps at local rinks, might promise more competition success than they are actually able to deliver. Or maybe what the coaches offer is modest and realistic, but still something the skaters need access to that coach's good graces to have access to. So there would still be a power dynamic. Even more so when the coach is an adult and the student is a minor.

Adult recreational skaters are less likely to find themselves in a position of power imbalance with regard to their skating coaches, or even with a power dynamic in the opposite employer-over-employee direction.

If two adults skate at the same rink but don't have a direct coaching relationship with each other, whether one or both coaches professionally or neither do, is there any inherent power dynamic that should preclude a relationship?

So it is probably appropriate for restrictions on relationships between skaters and skaters, coaches and coaches, as well as coaches and skaters to consider the ages primarily and also the actual power dynamics involved.
 

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