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

Tinami Amori

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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.
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....
In regard to my points, i believe i've specified that it should not be "children" or two people "under contract to each other, skater-coach who work together". My problem is that the rules are against "any two adults operating in the same facility, even if not working together".

I can see why it’d be in the best interest for organizations to take a more hardlined approach.
A more hardliner approach, would have allowed a report and suspension, or prevention of these great marriages..... Is it fair? Is it fair to make people possibly lose a love of their lives, or a loving partner for some time?
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MacMadame

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I don't know who are in the first picture but the last two are adults who skated together. I don't see any problems with adults who skate together dating. It's adults dating children that I have an issue with as well as coaches dating their students.
 

BittyBug

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My problem is that the rules are against "any two adults operating in the same facility, even if not working together".
Why do you keep using this example when such conduct is not prohibited by SafeSport?

III. PROHIBITED CONDUCT
A. Sexual misconduct
1. Generally​

Sexual misconduct offenses include:​

a. Sexual Conduct (or attempts to commit the same), without Consent.​
b. Sexual Conduct (or attempts to commit the same), where there is a Power Imbalance, regardless of purported Consent.​
c. Sexual Harassment.​
d. An Intimate Relationship involving a person in a Position of Power where a Power Imbalance exists.​

 

Tinami Amori

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I don't know who are in the first picture but the last two are adults who skated together. I don't see any problems with adults who skate together dating. It's adults dating children that I have an issue with as well as coaches dating their students.
The first two are Meagan Duhamel and her coach-husband Bruno Marcotte... :D

I agree with you, but USFS "code of ethics" seems to cover ANY sexual relationships between people at a rink, without specifying "age", "contractual connection or lack of it", etc. (that's my hole point).
Why do you keep using this example when such conduct is not prohibited by SafeSport?
Because i am not talking about SafeSport.... I am talking about "Code of Ethics/rules" by USFS... which as a result of "breaking them" can be reported to Safe Sport....
 

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I agree with you, but USFS "code of ethics" seems to cover ANY sexual relationships between people at a rink, without specifying "age", "contractual connection or lack of it", etc. (that's my hole point).

Because i am not talking about SafeSport.... I am talking about "Code of Ethics/rules" by USFS... which as a result of "breaking them" can be reported to Safe Sport....
Maybe if you can cite the actual code you are talking about? I don't remember seeing anything in this discussion about the USFS code of ethics. It's all been SafeSport. But I may have missed it or forgotten--it's a long thread.
 

BittyBug

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Because i am not talking about SafeSport.... I am talking about "Code of Ethics/rules" by USFS... which as a result of "breaking them" can be reported to Safe Sport....
The only things that are addressed by SafeSport are potential violations of SafeSport's code. If something were reported to SafeSport that was not a violation of its own code, it would be dismissed as they are not in the business of enforcing the codes of other organizations, only their own.
 

Tinami Amori

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Maybe if you can cite the actual code you are talking about? I don't remember seeing anything in this discussion about the USFS code of ethics. It's all been SafeSport. But I may have missed it or forgotten--it's a long thread.
I'll give you one argument, the quickest one. https://www.usfsa.org/content/2017-18 US Figure Skating SafeSport Handbook.pdf
page 7.
- "misconduct" is not well defined.
- "Power imbalance" section. It states that "Power imbalance" which is a conduct, can still be applied even to a married couple if they are in a "coach-student relationship"..

• Once a coach-athlete relationship is established, a power imbalance is presumed to exist throughout the coach-athlete relationship (regardless of age) and is presumed to continue for minor athletes after the coach-athlete relationship terminates and the athlete reaches 20 years of age.
• A power imbalance may exist, but is not presumed, where an intimate relationship existed before the sport relationship (e.g., a relationship between two spouses or life partners that preceded the sport relationship).

So.... if a married couple is also a "coach student" and someone decides they are witnessing a power imbalance... they can report.

This is just one issue. I can list more.
 

Tinami Amori

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I've asked you before and I will ask you again--what is the big deal about a report?

A report is just a report.
If 3 people get together (united by same morals, or other interests) and report Duhamel's husband-coach, based on his relationship with his adult student Meagan, he would be suspended and his name on the list.
 

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If 3 people get together (united by same morals, or other interests) and report Duhamel's husband-coach, based on his relationship with his adult student Meagan, he would be suspended and his name on the list.
And where do you get this information?
 

BittyBug

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If 3 people get together (united by same morals, or other interests) and report Duhamel's husband-coach, based on his relationship with his adult student Meagan, he would be suspended and his name on the list.
What is the basis for your assumption? Three people reporting the same incident still makes only one incident that would be evaluated to determine whether the coach poses a danger to the athlete in question or other athletes.
 

mpal2

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Tinami's example also assumes that a complaint automatically ends up being a suspension. I believe it has already been stated that they do some investigation and have evidence to support decisions that go public.
 

Tinami Amori

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And where do you get this information?
it is not "information", it is a possible scenario, given the rules.

What is the basis for your assumption? Three people reporting the same incident still makes only one incident that would be evaluated to determine whether the coach poses a danger to the athlete in question or other athletes.
my understanding there must be "more than one report".

Tinami's example also assumes that a complaint automatically ends up being a suspension.
The fact that such issue (two adults like Meagan and coach-boyfriend-later-husband) is even a subject of anyone's attention and can be reported, should not take place.

Any "reporting" throws a shade on the person. When concerns are valid (harm to someone) then yes a chance should be taken, even if dismissed later. When it is "business of two adults", no...
 

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it is not "information", it is a possible scenario, given the rules.
What do three reports have to do with the rules?

my understanding there must be "more than one report".
Where does that understanding come from? That doesn't even make sense.

My understanding of how it works: A report is made. A preliminary investigation is made to see if there is merit to the case and/or there is evidence that the accused constitutes a threat. If there is a threat, there is a suspension.

No one is suspended just because there are reports, whether there is one or three or 10. If you have something concrete that says otherwise, please post.
 

mpal2

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I don't know Safe Sport's hiring requirements for investigators but I'm 100% certain that they have to have some sort of certification or licensing. If investigators failed to follow standards in preliminary investigations they could lose their licenses and their jobs. So I doubt that they are rushing to suspension decisions.
 

Moustaffask8r

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If 3 people get together (united by same morals, or other interests) and report Duhamel's husband-coach, based on his relationship with his adult student Meagan, he would be suspended and his name on the list.
I think you don't get it! They don't suspend people automatically, there is a process, inquiry, they would go see Duhamel who was over 21 at the time I think, so she's not a minor, and would find out it was consensual. Let's go with another exemple, a coach was known for having an affair with one of his famous students. It went on for a while, it wasn't hidden. No one reported it because the girl was over 21, coach was older but it was consensual. There is inquiry after a report.
 

Tinami Amori

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What do three reports have to do with the rules?

Where does that understanding come from? That doesn't even make sense.
Hypothetically, several people at a rink, may see a "romance" between a couple (coach-skater) like Duhamel and her-now-husband, and report it because they think it is "misconduct" or "abuse of power imbalance" (based on how those clauses are worded in the document.

My understanding of how it works: A report is made. A preliminary investigation is made to see if there is merit to the case and/or there is evidence that the accused constitutes a threat. If there is a threat, there is a suspension.

No one is suspended just because there are reports, whether there is one or three or 10. If you have something concrete that says otherwise, please post.
But did not JC got suspended because of "more than one person's reports"?

No one reported it because the girl was over 21, coach was older but it was consensual. There is inquiry after a report.
But the rules say "power imbalance may exist regardless of age, if it is coach-student relationship"..
 

mpal2

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But did not JC got suspended because of "more than one person's reports"?
No. He got suspended because there were complaints and preliminary investigations provided enough evidence to issue a suspension until a more thorough one could be conducted. Investigations have protocols around them. The investigators could face disciplinary measures themselves if they fail to follow them.
 

Tinami Amori

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No. He got suspended because there were complaints and preliminary investigations provided enough evidence to issue a suspension until a more thorough one could be conducted.
ok... but then what would prevent a coach's suspension (in Duhamel's coach/love-then-husband case) if various people reported it as "misconduct due to power imbalance" which is as it is written is against the rules? if they investigate, then yes, they will find that a) coach is sleeping with his student, b) it is in violation of "code of conduct" because such relationship automatically presume "power imbalance"..
 

mpal2

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Is there any reason you need to keep searching for an example where people would think a relationship is ok? Do you think that would mean the rules in place shouldn't be there even if they protect more than they harm?

There is no such thing as a perfect system. And 1 valid relationship isn't enough to say the rules shouldn't be there. Prancer already listed the stakeholders and asked who could provide a system that protects all the interests. I don't see your alternative to what's in place and why it's better.
 

Tinami Amori

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Is there any reason you need to keep searching for an example where people would think a relationship is ok? Do you think that would mean the rules in place shouldn't be there even if they protect more than they harm?

There is no such thing as a perfect system. And 1 valid relationship isn't enough to say the rules shouldn't be there.
Let me rephrase then, in a form of a question: Are the rules written in a such a way that, in the example given, Duhamel and Coach/Husband (or similar cases), are subject to reporting?

Also. (as per 2015 discussions on russian chats, about Sinitsyna/Katsalapov). When in summer 2014 they moved to Zoueva's rink in USA, they were he-22 years, she-18 years old. It is no secret they were/are lovers. As i understand from the discussions, they (Sin/Kats) were advised by Marina that they have to rent TWO DIFFERENT APARTMENTS, so "people don't talk", "and to avoid any issues". While staying together in one of the apartments, they had to pay 2 rents! while hardly using the second one. And there were further discussions (on the chats) about some details and how prudish Americans are about "sex" and how it hinders relationships.

There should be no "rules" that affect "attitudes of others" that should force legal age people, who are lovers, to rent two apartments "to keep up appearances of propriety" according to subjective personal views of others about "sex".
 
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twizzletoes76

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I think Tinami Amori is actually right about this (re post #350). I remember reading about the rules of conduct a while ago and noting that there was a very grey area where adults were concerned. If, for example, as an adult skater I wanted to date my adult coach who might actually be the same age as me or even younger than me, this would be considered questionable conduct. The rule assumes an imbalance of power but for adults past certain impressionable ages, this imbalance may not actually be present and the relationship might actually be able to function more as a collaborative one. (e.g. Navka-Zhulin and I’m sure many others...)

But this is just a minor point regarding conduct policies and not one worth getting hung up about. Main point of policies is to protect children and teenagers from predatory relationships and abusive treatment. This of course raises the question of when is a minor not a minor and how can young adults also be protected in this framework once of legal age? I do think the wording of the policy Tinami is referring to could be tweaked but I think the purpose of that rule is obvious: to protect students who are legal adults but who are still on the young side, especially in situations where huge age discrepancies may exist between coach and student. Okay, next point?
 
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Tinami Amori

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I remember reading about the rules of conduct a while ago and noting that there was a very grey area where adults were concerned.

I do think the wording of the policy Tinami is referring to could be tweaked but I think the purpose of that rule is obvious: to protect students who are legal adults but who are still on the young side, especially in situations where huge age discrepancies may exist between coach and student. Okay, next point?
That is my only point - gray area when it comes to consenting adults, and - should be tweaked. Protecting children, under-aged, all from harm/abuse is a must, and it is not in question.
 

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Let me rephrase then, in a form of a question: Are the rules written in a such a way that, in the example given, Duhamel and Coach/Husband (or similar cases), are subject to reporting?
Yes. Again, ANYTHING can be reported.

Would Coach/Husband be suspended under those circumstances? Do you think an investigation would conclude that he had pressured or coerced her into the relationship or that he constituted a threat to her?

If so, then yeah, he'd be suspended.

Also. (as per 2015 discussions on russian chats, about Sinitsyna/Katsalapov). When in summer 2014 they moved to Zoueva's rink in USA, they were he-22 years, she-18 years old. It is no secret they were/are lovers. As i understand from the discussions, they (Sin/Kats) were advised by Marina that they have to rent TWO DIFFERENT APARTMENTS, so "people don't talk", "and to avoid any issues". While staying together in one of the apartments, they had to pay 2 rents! while hardly using the second one. And there were further discussions (on the chats) about some details and how prudish Americans are about "sex" and how it hinders relationships.
"So people don't talk" isn't a rule and I don't see anything in the Code that would prevent an 18 year old from having a relationship with her 22 year old partner unless there was a power differential--as in, did he have power over her? Was he in a position to pressure her into a sexual relationship?

Could someone have reported them? Sure, because people can report anything. Would anyone have been suspended? Depends on what an investigation found.

Adults can be harmed, abused, coerced and pressured, too.

Why on earth is this so difficult?
 
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Also. (as per 2015 discussions on russian chats, about Sinitsyna/Katsalapov). When in summer 2014 they moved to Zoueva's rink in USA, they were he-22 years, she-18 years old.
18 is a legal adult, so that alone wouldn't have been a mandatory reporting violation.

SafeSport was created in March 2017. S/K we're already back in Moscow by then, according to Wikipedia. So whatever Zoueva was advising, it wasn't based on SafeSport.

ETA: When she was competing, Duhamel/Marcotte were subject to Canada's rules. My understanding is that Zhulin wasn't certified in the US.l, nor was Vasiliev. I thought Morozov was certified, unless I'm misremembering him at the boards and in KnC with Rippon, but maybe he gave it up.
 
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BittyBug

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Also. (as per 2015 discussions on russian chats, about Sinitsyna/Katsalapov). When in summer 2014 they moved to Zoueva's rink in USA, they were he-22 years, she-18 years old. It is no secret they were/are lovers. As i understand from the discussions, they (Sin/Kats) were advised by Marina that they have to rent TWO DIFFERENT APARTMENTS, so "people don't talk", "and to avoid any issues". While staying together in one of the apartments, they had to pay 2 rents! while hardly using the second one. And there were further discussions (on the chats) about some details and how prudish Americans are about "sex" and how it hinders relationships.
Frankly this sounds like a bunch of hog manure made up by people who have no idea what they're talking about. It is extremely common for young adults to live together in the U.S. People wouldn't talk and there wouldn't be any issues. 18 is legal age in every state - there were no laws being broken and believe it or not, Americans are really not prudes. Young athletes dating each other and living together - no one would bat an eyelash, and they certainly wouldn't be reported to US Figure Skating or Safe Sport.
 

Barbara Manatee

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While it is possible that several people in a rink could all decide to make a third-party report of a married couple, the chance of that happening seems extremely small. Most people are reluctant to get involved in genuine cases of misconduct/abuse, and it's even less likely they'd say anything in this scenario. Getting involved in an investigation is not a pleasant walk in the park. It takes time and effort, and it exposes the reporter to possible backlash. Few people would risk their own reputation and welcome in the sport or at a rink just because they are prudish or want to make trouble for someone.
 

Tinami Amori

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Prancer

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A much older man, with a difficult physical condition, coerces another older man into sending his own young daughter to be a prisoner in the first man's home, in hope to make the girl fall in love with him... He gives her riches, clothes, control of the house, flirts and courts her... Grooming?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQ0ODCMC6xs
Yes. But haven't you derailed the thread enough already? Or are we about to be treated to a long treatise on the completely irrelevant subject of cultural norms as represented by fairy tales with multiple demands for explanations for how such movies can be popular when there are such rules in skating? :drama:

Enough already.
 

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