George Abashidze

Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by dogimus, Aug 7, 2018.

  1. K O'N

    K O'N Podium

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    We may all hear the details of suspensions, eventually, with accuracy subject to the game of telephone the facts must play in situations like this.

    But prospective parents of new fencers will not, and they're the ones who deserve to be able to look at the site of the NGB for fencing and see what coaches in particular have been suspended for. As it is a coach could claim that there had been a financial misunderstanding or something like that, when in fact the offense had been sexual in nature and serious. Parents have no way to know, they deliver their kids to this guy, and US Fencing has failed to warn the next generation of victims in an effective way.

    US Fencing's motives in not making the reasons for suspensions public are not at all clear to me. Maybe it's some legal requirement. I don't know. Other sports seem to be able to say "This guy did this, he doesn't work for us any more." I wish we could and would do the same.
     
  2. jjefferies

    jjefferies Podium

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    Says the Tool of the Devil
     
  3. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    Depends on context.

    If you Google "sports slapping asses" you will get tons of images of football and baseball and soccer players, coaches and assistant coaches and so on doing that. None appear to have any sexual intent or quality at all and no reacts to them or even seems to notice them. Are they all sexual assault?
     
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  4. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    Oh, I agree with you.

    Although, "This guy did this" might be taken as a legal finding of fact, which a sports organization might not want to make given that even courts get this wrong from time to time and if they say "This guy did this" and then it turns out that he did not there is rather a large liability question. Easier to just say "It's an internal matter and it's been handled". Then at least there is no question of libel should the judgement later prove wrong.
     
  5. Strytllr

    Strytllr DE Bracket

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    In this situation, the email sent out to coaches and officers stated that Mr. Abashidze was suspended for a period with a possibility of reinstatement. Some previous suspension emails have been listed as "suspended pending an investigation". Since Mr. Abashidze was not suspending pending an investigation, then it can be assumed the investigation already happened.

    The reason for not disclosing the reasons for suspensions can be explained in privacy law. While my nosy brain would love to know the rest of the story...if USA Fencing were to publish it in any fashion, they could be held liable in court for a number of legal privacy charges. You know that he was suspended. If you want to know more, go find someone reputable and in-the-know and ask them personally. Just don't be surprised if they don't tell you either. Gossip is bad.
     
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  6. K O'N

    K O'N Podium

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    That's certainly easier and safer for US Fencing. It's less safe for new fencers. We can see which one US Fencing is more concerned about.

    There are certainly libel concerns here, but I don't believe that's an impossible barrier. Get a good lawyer to craft a statement that says something like: "This coach was investigated by US Fencing for violating Safesport policies regarding sexual contact with a minor (for example). The victims did not press charges. The coach was not charged with a crime. US Fencing found them to be in violation of its policies and suspended them." Or something, I'm not a lawyer, but I don't believe truthful statements about internal investigations like this are always open to charges of libel.

    I'm not advocating gossip, I'm advocating the truthful dissemination of important data to vulnerable prospective victims. The current situation, where your best advice is "go find someone who can tell you" is one that leads to gossip, and is useless to parents of prospective new fencers since they don't have those contacts yet. Publishing truthful statements regarding the results of internal investigations would not be gossip, in fact it's the very antithesis of gossip.
     
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  7. mfp

    mfp Podium

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    A good lawyer couldn't craft a statement that says something like that since USA Fencing has no authority to investigate such things anymore:

    Effective August 1, 2017, the Center will have exclusive authority to investigate and resolve alleged SafeSport Code violations involving sexual misconduct.

    Authority

    1. Exclusive authority

    The Office, or its duly appointed designee, has exclusive
    authority over (a) actual or suspected sexual misconduct
    by a Covered Individual; and (b) misconduct that is
    reasonably related to an underlying allegation of sexual
    misconduct, as set forth in the Code. Exclusive authority
    means that (a) only the Office will investigate and manage
    any related hearings involving sexual misconduct and (b)
    neither the NGB nor USOC will conduct its own
    investigation or arbitration with respect to possible sexual
    misconduct, except as otherwise provided
    .​
     
  8. Strytllr

    Strytllr DE Bracket

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    Obviously missed the first part of that paragraph where i said that wasn't legally possible to do per privacy laws. End of subject. They can't discuss it. You'll find the same situation in any court case that's been closed to protect the victim. You might know that someone got arrested, but not why, and no one in the system will officially tell you.
     
  9. Peach

    Peach Podium

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    I will add that anyone who tries to find this information out on a public forum asking people whose usernames you can't verify to tell you confidential information about another member of the community is indulging in wishful thinking at best and mean-spirited gossip at worst. But I will point out (if you want to believe a person with a raccoon avatar and named after a fruit) that a three-year suspension suggests something that does not require permanent suspension and/or calling the police.

    And I will also add that suspension from employment or professional membership is something that happens all the time, does not have to pass the requirements of criminal accusation, and does not require explanation from anyone.
     
  10. K O'N

    K O'N Podium

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    Are you a lawyer? I'm not sure what privacy laws you think cover this; when I've discussed this with lawyers they have uniformly brought up the prospect of accusations of libel and a civil suit, if there was never an arrest or trial.

    Two minutes googling brings up this case, where the name of the accused and the accusation are public, but the victim's name is withheld:

    https://www.mdjonline.com/news/upda...cle_21639c50-666b-11e8-a737-0bb30042679d.html

    But that person has been accused in court. I think it's harder in a purely internal investigation where no charges are brought.
     
  11. Mac A. Bee

    Mac A. Bee is a Verified Fencing ExpertMac A. Bee Podium

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    Quoth the lawyer *and* adjunct law professor.:)
     
  12. Strytllr

    Strytllr DE Bracket

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  13. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    I thought Peach was an educator...?
     
  14. Philly Diana

    Philly Diana Made the Cut

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    Something that would constitute harassment under SafeSport guidelines would very well not rise to the level of criminal conduct in many jurisdictions. E.g. - assuming the hypothetical of a slap on the backside and an invitation to intimate behavior - if it were another adult - while it might be a SafeSport violation, and might technically be assault and/or battery, very few county prosecutors would be willing to bring those charges. On the other hand, if the same hypothetical conduct occurred with a minor - there might be a criminal charge brought. Let's remember that the civil standard for success in a case is often preponderance of the evidence (which means the scale tips to one side more than the other) versus beyond a reasonable doubt - which is a very high bar to cross. (None of the above should be construed as legal advice or counsel, which should be done with a professional licensed in your jurisdiction.)
     
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  15. Mac A. Bee

    Mac A. Bee is a Verified Fencing ExpertMac A. Bee Podium

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    Lawyer-educator-adjunct...
     
  16. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    Linked-In vita says adjunct prof. in the School of Education at Temple...not a word about law.

    But I'll take your word for it. I just thought she was in education.
     
  17. Mac A. Bee

    Mac A. Bee is a Verified Fencing ExpertMac A. Bee Podium

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    Apres law. Didn't know she was originally educated as a fine artist.
     
  18. Peach

    Peach Podium

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    Oh, are you referring to me? If so, yes, I was trained in the arts. However, I'm not a lawyer, nor am I a law professor (I'm adjunct faculty in another field). I was the confidential harassment contact in an organization and was responsible for initiating the process for handling the complaints.

    Another, later commenter who said something similar is, however, a lawyer.

    And it's still an anonymous fencing forum.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2018
  19. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    Well...moderately.
     
  20. RebelFencer

    RebelFencer Podium

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    So your response to a legitimate argument about sexual assault is to reference a person's username? What point are you exactly trying to make with that?


    Intent doesn't really matter too much. Someone intentionally groped a person in a way that was clearly unwelcome. I agree that it is common place in sports like baseball or football, but that doesn't mean that the same norms/expectations apply.
     

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