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Thread: Former figure skater says she was abused by partner who killed himself

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    Former figure skater says she was abused by partner who killed himself


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    Tripping on the Podium
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    Quote Originally Posted by magictodo View Post
    how horrible =( those poor victims.

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    GS Supporter SnowWhite's Avatar
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    Well, she's not correct that innocent people never commit suicide, because that does happen sometimes. But that doesn't negate the rest of what she said at all.

    And at least 10 women (edit: or girls) ... it doesn't feel like this is something that's going to go away any time soon. And seeing that number just make me more angry at all the skaters/coaches who were blindly defending him and calling the women involved liar, etc.

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    I found this extremely disturbing:

    Tara Modlin, who was Coughlin’s agent, sent a text message Monday evening in response to a request for comment: “It seems that you want me to comment on an unstable persons (sic) Facebook comment – I don’t really understand your question. … my suggestion is to call some of his other partners …”

    Attacking an alleged victim as "unstable" is disgusting, especially when her experience was similar to what happened to a few other alleged victims. That there are other partners who had a positive experience with him is sort of meaningless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SnowWhite View Post
    And at least 10 women (edit: or girls) ... it doesn't feel like this is something that's going to go away any time soon. And seeing that number just make me more angry at all the skaters/coaches who were blindly defending him and calling the women involved liar, etc.
    There were a number of posters here that were defending him as well.

    Good for her for speaking out. It takes immense courage to do so.

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    Medalist DSQ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drivingmissdaisy View Post
    I found this extremely disturbing:

    Tara Modlin, who was Coughlin’s agent, sent a text message Monday evening in response to a request for comment: “It seems that you want me to comment on an unstable persons (sic) Facebook comment – I don’t really understand your question. … my suggestion is to call some of his other partners …”

    Attacking an alleged victim as "unstable" is disgusting, especially when her experience was similar to what happened to a few other alleged victims. That there are other partners who had a positive experience with him is sort of meaningless.
    Yeah I thought that too. People can get emotional about accusations against people they care about but that doesn’t mean you should say something so hurtful. People need to learn that they are allowed to say “no comment” if they are upset.

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    Something like this was expected sooner or later.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by drivingmissdaisy View Post
    I found this extremely disturbing:

    Tara Modlin, who was Coughlin’s agent, sent a text message Monday evening in response to a request for comment: “It seems that you want me to comment on an unstable persons (sic) Facebook comment – I don’t really understand your question. … my suggestion is to call some of his other partners …”

    Attacking an alleged victim as "unstable" is disgusting, especially when her experience was similar to what happened to a few other alleged victims. That there are other partners who had a positive experience with him is sort of meaningless.
    This comment really stood out to me as well. What a cruel, horrible thing to allege.

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    Quote Originally Posted by drivingmissdaisy View Post
    I found this extremely disturbing:

    Tara Modlin, who was Coughlin’s agent, sent a text message Monday evening in response to a request for comment: “It seems that you want me to comment on an unstable persons (sic) Facebook comment – I don’t really understand your question. … my suggestion is to call some of his other partners …”

    Attacking an alleged victim as "unstable" is disgusting, especially when her experience was similar to what happened to a few other alleged victims. That there are other partners who had a positive experience with him is sort of meaningless.
    Especially since Modlin is Craig Maurizi's wife and Maurizi has been accusing Richard Callaghan of having abused him for decades. Therefore, she should know how difficult these situations are emotionally. If she doesn't believe her, there are other ways to express it, like "I am surprised to learn these comments. My experience with him is totally different and his other partners didn't have any problems as you can find out if you contact them".

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    Tripping on the Podium
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    There’s no such thing as a proof a guilt when it comes to sexual harassments. It will always be a he said/she said situation.
    Sexual harassment does not often occur in full public view. Since there are often no witnesses or material evidence to these cases, issues of credibility often arise in sexual harassment claims.
    It’s usually very hard to proove that the person was harassed, and that’s the reason many victims don’t report those crimes and don’t speak out, it’s because they know the risk they are putting themselves at by talking about their personal pain, and the possibility of them being not believed and humiliated. (Which happened in this case, as the woman who spoke out was called „unstable“ right away)
    It takes a great deal of courage to relive traumatic experiences and speak about them openly, knowing all people around you will know this reality about your personal trauma, and forever change their outlook on you.

    If multiple different people spoke out, including minors, I tend to believe them. I think that’s a lot of people and it leaves only a little room for a doubt.
    John isn’t a millionaire or a Hollywood celebrity, those people had little to gain from this in my opinion.
    „Well why didn’t she come forward sooner?“You might ask
    Sometimes it takes a long time to find the courage to tell anyone, and I’ve personally encountered women who couldn’t tell anyone, even their closest ones(parents,family) for a decade about their experiences.

    To each their own, if you think she made up a story for 5 minutes of fame on Facebook, it’s completely up to you, I am not going to tell you to believe her, it’s your personal call, and it’s not mine to make. And I advise you to do the same, and not tell other people whether or not they should believe her or other victims.
    Last edited by dorispulaski; 05-21-2019 at 07:00 AM. Reason: Remove quote

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    Ugh, the cliches from both legal teams are just gross.

    Calling an accuser "unstable," even if true in certain cases, just looks like the same old victim-blaming.

    And yes, there absolutely are innocent people who commit suicide. And guilty people who do, and innocent people who don't, and guilty and innocent people who consider it but decide against it and no one finds out because they never tell anyone, etc., etc.

    With regard to that link within the article about a "culture of abuse," this (recent?) tendency toward lawyers labeling entire institutions as cultures of (bad thing here) because of individuals is bizarre. There are icky coaches in all sports. Maybe figure skating attracts more of them, and I'm sure there are individual rinks with "cultures of abuse," but making the entirety of the sport sound like a front for a child abuse ring is just going to anger many of the countless skaters who haven't been abused and the countless coaches who would never be inappropriate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nussnacker View Post
    There’s no such thing as a proof a guilt when it comes to sexual harassments. It will always be a he said/she said situation.
    Sexual harassment does not often occur in full public view. Since there are often no witnesses or material evidence to these cases, issues of credibility often arise in sexual harassment claims.
    It’s usually very hard to proove that the person was harassed, and that’s the reason many victims don’t report those crimes and don’t speak out, it’s because they know the risk they are putting themselves at by talking about their personal pain, and the possibility of them being not believed and humiliated. (Which happened in this case, as the woman who spoke out was called „unstable“ right away)
    It takes a great deal of courage to relive traumatic experiences and speak about them openly, knowing all people around you will know this reality about your personal trauma, and forever change their outlook on you.

    If multiple different people spoke out, including minors, I tend to believe them. I think that’s a lot of people and it leaves only a little room for a doubt.
    John isn’t a millionaire or a Hollywood celebrity, those people had little to gain from this in my opinion.
    „Well why didn’t she come forward sooner?“You might ask
    Sometimes it takes a long time to find the courage to tell anyone, and I’ve personally encountered women who couldn’t tell anyone, even their closest ones(parents,family) for a decade about their experiences.

    To each their own, if you think she made up a story for 5 minutes of fame on Facebook, it’s completely up to you, I am not going to tell you to believe her, it’s your personal call, and it’s not mine to make. And I advise you to do the same, and not tell other people whether or not they should believe her or other victims.
    Not true. There has been proof from secret recordings, dna, eyewitnesses etc.

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    Tripping on the Podium
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    Quote Originally Posted by gmyers View Post
    Not true. There has been proof from secret recordings, dna, eyewitnesses etc.
    I was answering the comment of another person, that is now deleted, and now my comment looks a little out of context. =)

    There are some cases where hard proof is present, but it's not the case for majority of sexual assault cases, especially if they date back to several years.
    Eyewitnesses and video evidence is not something that is very common in the court when it comes to sexual assault, majority of the times those crimes are done with precautions to avoid those things.
    When it comes to DNA, it's quite conflicting as well, for sexual assault victims, somehow after being raped/assaulted it is not their first impulse to go for DNA testing right after their assault, and I think it is completely understandable. Moreover, the whole DNA collecting process might be extremely humiliating and traumatic on its own, so if some victims happen to lack that evidence, I don't think it should undermine their credibility.

    My point was not that there's absolutely no way to find any hard evidence, it was that majority of cases aren't as easy to prove and for majority that type of evidence might not be present, hence in those cases automatically implying that the assault did not happen as a result of that "hard" evidence missing is not the right way and discourages victims of speaking out.
    I think there's an abundance of literature on that topic.

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    GS Supporter ladyjane's Avatar
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    To be honest, I was expecting something like this happening. John's suicide left so many questions unanswered - on both sides. Despite me feeling terribly sorry for this girl, I am actually pleased she has spoken out. It might mean there will be more closure on the case, how harrowing this all might be for John's family and friends. Calling the girl 'unstable' seems to me a horrible reaction, which actually could make others (there were more) dare to speak out as well. If only to 'prove' there is nothing about stability playing a part here. I hope so, even though if they don't it's totally understandable too.

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    Here for the High Lord of Extra TallyT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drivingmissdaisy View Post
    Attacking an alleged victim as "unstable" is disgusting, especially when her experience was similar to what happened to a few other alleged victims. That there are other partners who had a positive experience with him is sort of meaningless.
    Sounds a bit desperate to me, attacking a witness rather than the allegation is an age-old reflex. Especially in sexual assault/abuse cases.

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    Medalist Manitou's Avatar
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    What is the definition of "sexual assault"? Does anybody know what exactly they are accusing him of? What exactly did he do?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Manitou View Post
    What is the definition of "sexual assault"? Does anybody know what exactly they are accusing him of? What exactly did he do?
    As I understand it, the charge is that Coughlin used his position as a legal adult and a much-sought-after male pairs partner to pressure young girls into sexual encounters. John's defense was that his behavior was "peer-to-peer" -- that a 19-year old guy hitting on a fifteen-year-old girl is not a hanging offense (though not John's finest hour, and illegal to boot).

    The details are murky because SafeSport has closed the case without public disclosure of its findings.

    This is what I think.

    John Coughlin is dead. He is beyond punishment or exoneration.

    So now the relevant issue is not, "What did John do?" but (a) is there a "culture of abuse" in figure skating, one that the USFSA, figure skating clubs, etc., can be held legally and morally responsible for?

    (b) Legal responsibility aside, what can the figure skating establishment do to protect young skaters from being preyed upon when they find themselves in situations of power imbalance?
    Last edited by Mathman; 05-21-2019 at 05:29 PM.

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    GS Supporter ladyjane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    As I understand it, the charge is that Coughlin used his position as a legal adult and a much-sought-after male pairs partner to pressure young girls into sexual encounters. John's defense was that his behavior was "peer-to-peer" -- a 19-year old guy hitting on a fifteen-year-old girl is not a hanging offense (though not John's finest hour, and illegal to boot).

    The details are murky because SafeSport has closed the case without public disclosure of its findings.

    This is what I think.

    John Coughlin is dead. He is beyond punishment or exoneration.

    So now the relevant issue is not, "What did John do?" but (a) is there a "culture of abuse" in fugure skating, one that the USFSA, figure skating clubs, etc., can be held legally and morally responsible for?

    (b) Legal responsibility aside, what can the figure skating establishment do to protect young skaters from being preyed upon when they find themselves in situations of power imbalance?
    There is of course also the major problem of young girls of about 14-15 'having a crush' on guys much older than that which increases this whole problem. This happens, I know I had such crushes at that age, except the guys weren't interested (luckily for me). Not to blame anyone, but I realise this occurs. Normally these crushes will run their course, but if combined with a culture of 'grooming' (not going into the abuse yet), it can lead to devastating consequences. Not every case of a guy of 19 with a girl of 15 is abuse (even if legally not permitted) but every case where someone (girl or boy) feels forced to engage in a sexual relationship due to power imbalance of course is. Your issue about relevancy is exactly right.

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    Outdated Old Dinosaur
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    While not implying either guilt or innocence towards John Coughlin...

    I think that people who speak sneeringly of "rink moms" and "skating moms" should consider something.

    Maybe there's a reason they're always at practices and events beyond the usual shade cast at their "over-involvement."

    When raising our son, our policy was that he could not become involved in any endeavor where we were not welcome at every gathering, and where we could not walk into a facility without any notice whatsoever. If the doors weren't open to us whenever he was present, then that was not the activity for us.

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    Medalist Manitou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    John Coughlin is dead. He is beyond punishment or exoneration.
    I would think so too, but the article suggests there are skaters who disagree.
    Plus, what was that exact form of "hitting"? I think that's the key.
    "Hitting" might have a very wide range. From simple attraction to physical enforcement. With tons of actions in between, ranging from perfectly legal and innocent, through simply inappropriate and going all the way to criminal.
    So did John do anything criminal? If yes then there must be some evidence. Simple "me too" is not enough. John cannot be interrogated or verified. Presumption of innocence still stands.
    If he didn't do anything criminal, but he was just "inappropriate", whatever that meant in that context of time and situation, then again - it was not criminal, so there is no case.

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