Dear USEF Members,
The recent and unexpected death of Rob Gage has been shocking to the equestrian community. Any time a life is lost, it is a tragedy. In recent days, a number of member concerns have been raised regarding processes used by the U.S. Center for SafeSport (the “Center”). There has also been an increase in the distribution of incorrect and misleading information, as well as the bullying, harassment and blaming of survivors.
The facts reported in USA Today and The Chronicle of the Horse articles are consistent with the Center’s response and resolution process. Information about the Center’s processes and the corresponding federal law have been distributed since the Center opened and the law was enacted. This information is available through the USEF Safe Sport page and through the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s website. It is important that you utilize these resources to educate yourself and your family.
USEF understands the concern raised by some of our members regarding the Center’s determination process. During the investigation process, the Center ensures all parties involved are treated fairly. The Responding Party is provided an opportunity to present all information and evidence concerning the allegations and all the evidence against them is revealed to them before a decision is made as to whether a violation of the U.S. Center for SafeSport Code occurred. We believe the right to privacy the Center offers all parties is vital to a fair process. To protect the privacy of these individuals, the Center does not release information on reports they receive or details of investigations to the public. Upon making a decision, the Center will inform the parties and the NGBs of the decision. This allows an investigation to proceed without being debated in the media.
As an organization, the goal of USEF is to provide a safe and healthy sport environment for all of our athletes. We stand behind the policies, response(s), and resolution process of the Center and the absolute need for survivors of sexual abuse to have a safe environment to come forward and report abuse. We will continue to expand the resources and services we offer. Depression, suicidal ideation, mental illness, and the impact of abuse are all factors facing individuals within our sport. We will be expanding our services by adding mental health counseling resources for our members.
We take SafeSport very seriously. We assure you that we are communicating to the Center our members concerns regarding process and fairness. Integrity in disciplinary processes is a priority.
Abuse has no place in sport or society and sexual misconduct and abuse of minors is intolerable in any situation. Additionally, bullying, harassing or blaming survivors is unacceptable behavior and will not be tolerated. We must stand with and support survivors, with all of our resources.
If you have questions or would like additional information on SafeSport policies, please visit the USEF SafeSport page on our website which includes important helpline information for survivors of sexual abuse and suicide prevention.
William J. Moroney
Chief Executive Officer