USAWP Sexual Abuse Investigation

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OCPoloDad
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Re: USAWP Sexual Abuse Investigation

Postby OCPoloDad » Thu Jan 14, 2021 1:37 pm

More out of the OC Register today. Keep in mind that USAWP could sue OC Register for Libel; If any of the reported information were blatant lies with an intent to cause harm. Much of the below is repetitive news but OC Register is not turning down the heat.

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee ethics chief has requested information from a group of former Olympians and USA Water Polo board members demanding the removal of Chris Ramsey, USA Water Polo’s longtime CEO, and Michael Graff, the organization’s board chairman, according to three people familiar with the request. Holly Shick, the USOPC’s chief of ethics and compliance, has also requested information from USA Water Polo, the sport’s Irvinebased national governing body. The discussions between Shick and the former Olympians and board members, as well as USA Water Polo officials come as calls for Ramsey, Graff and other board members ousters gain momentum.

Officials for the USA Water Polo’s Midwest and Coast California zones also have requested information from leaders behind an online petition titled “USA Water Polo Leadership Accountability; Call for CEO and Board President to Resign.” Leaders for the group are scheduled to meet with zone officials this week, according to two people familiar with the talks. The petition, outlining what its authors described as as “the alarming history” and “pattern of behavior by the leadership of USAWP,” has attracted more than 800 signatures including at least 12 former Olympians as well several ex-USA Water Polo board members and Olympic and national team coaches since it was posted last week.

“As members of USAWP, we have no confidence in the judgment and leadership of Mike Graff and Chris Ramsey, and we ask the Board to immediately and permanently remove both from any and all positions or roles within USAWP,” the group said in the petition. “This has been a long time coming. We keep hearing from people ‘thank you, thank you, thank you for stepping up.’” Ramsey has been CEO of the Irvine-based national governing body since 2006. He received $478,251 in compensation in 2019, the most recent year where financial records are available.

While the petition is focused on Ramsey and Graff, the reaction to it has also exposed unhappiness with the board as a whole, former Olympians and USA Water Polo officials said. “There’s been a complete disconnect between Ramsey and the board, and the members,” Lynn Kachmarik said. “(USA Water Polo members) don’t just want Ramsey, Graff (and USA Water Polo board member) Bill Smith gone, they want everyone gone. Everyone is saying ‘the whole board has to go, you have to clean house.’ “It’s been ugly for a long time.”

The petition followed a Southern California News Group investigation of Ramsey, Graff and USA Water Polo’s handling of sexual harassment and verbal and physical abuse allegations from 2009 published last month. A Chicago-area female referee alleged to USA Water Polo officials that she had been repeatedly sexually harassed by Perry Korbakis, the chairman of referees for USA Water Polo’s Midwest’s region.

Korbakis resigned his position under pressure from USA Water Polo officials, but was allowed to continue to be involved in the organization. The female referee disputed assertions by USA Water Polo that officials for the organization detailed to her the process that could have resulted in Korbakis’ suspension or permanent banishment from the sport. A second female referee also alleged to USA Water Polo in 2009 that Korbakis had sexually harassed her as well. Korbakis did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

While there has been growing dissatisfaction and frustration with Ramsey and Graff within the sport in recent years, a push for Ramsey’s firing began to gain traction after an SCNG report in October on USA Water Polo’s handling of 2017 sexual assault allegations against Orange County girls teams coached by Bahram Hojreh, according to the former Olympians and board members.

The SCNG investigation revealed that Ramsey and other top officials at the NGB did not report the incidents to law enforcement or child protective services even though under California law and the U.S. Center for SafeSport code they are mandated reporters of sexual abuse and Ramsey only months later told a U.S. Senate subcommittee that the NGB’s protocol was to immediately alert law enforcement, according to depositions, emails, letters and sworn declarations. The U.S. Center for SafeSport is reviewing a formal complaint against Ramsey, according to a person familiar with the review.

Hojreh was arrested in April 2018 on 22 charges ranging from sexual battery, lewd act with an individual under 14, and sexual penetration of a minor with a foreign object, according to arrest records and court filings. Hojreh allegedly continued sexually abusing at least a dozen underage girls he coached between July 2017, when the first complaints about the coach and IWP were submitted to USA Water Polo, and his April 2018 arrest, according to police reports, court filing, and interviews. Ramsey in letter to USA Water Polo members in response to the petition said the organization was “shocked” by Hojreh’s arrest, which came only nine months after the sexual assault allegations against his teams were provided to Ramsey.

“The trust between athletes and their coach is sacred,” Ramsey wrote. “The violation of that trust through any abuse is appalling, and USA Water Polo was shocked to learn of the allegations against Mr. Hojreh. We have been fully cooperative with the (U.S. Center for SafeSport) and law enforcement regarding their actions in this case.” USA Water Polo has been named in several civil suits related Hojreh’s alleged sexual abuse filed in Orange County Superior Court.

Ramsey has spent much of the past 10 days trying to do damage control. He requested a conference call with Midwest Zone officials last week to revisit the Korbakis case, according to two sources familiar with the call. He also sent out a confidential letter to USA Water Polo’s zone chairmen January 4. In the letter obtained by SCNG, Ramsey alleges the SCNG Korbakis investigation “does not accurately reflect USA Water Polo’s actions” but does not address specific charges raised in the investigation.

“We ask you appreciate that we are in litigation, and it is in all of our interests to allow the facts to come forward in court, where there is a higher standard for truth than may be the case in the press,” Ramsey wrote. Ramsey instructed the zone chairmen to refer “inquiries about any of these matters, especially from the media” to USA Water Polo’s communications director. Ramsey has said the organization has launched an investigation into the petition. Some people listed as signing say they in fact have not signed the document, he said.

desertbeachkid
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Re: USAWP Sexual Abuse Investigation

Postby desertbeachkid » Thu Jan 14, 2021 1:50 pm

Thanks for posting the article. Glad to see that the pressure is on Ramsey. California law is clear. If a mandatory reporter (which USAWP clearly is) reasonably suspects abuse, it must report it to law enforcement. This is the one question I would like Ramsey and USAWP to answer. They had more than enough evidence to reasonably believe that Hojreh was abusing his players and failed to report it. The more I think about Ramsey's email, the more appalling it is that he fails to address this issue.

Rbpolo0414
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Re: USAWP Sexual Abuse Investigation

Postby Rbpolo0414 » Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:56 am

Does anyone know any of these board members? I’ve never heard of any of them. I imagine they are all friendly to the leaders of USAWP. Time for the athlete representatives to step up and turn up the heat or resign in protest, which would also make a statement. I wouldn’t want my name on this mess.

Sctrojanje
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Re: USAWP Sexual Abuse Investigation

Postby Sctrojanje » Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:17 pm

Handpicked to insure he is never held to task. It is a club you have to belong to.

DinsdalePiranha
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Re: USAWP Sexual Abuse Investigation

Postby DinsdalePiranha » Fri Jan 15, 2021 2:56 pm

They will not survive this, based on the letter Ramsey wrote, (we’re going to investigate names that appeared on an online poll) he has no clue, the momentum has built beyond his ability to obfuscate the problem, if they were smart (and they’re not) they would seek a graceful exit “for the good of the sport”
he nailed your head to the floor? Wol, e ad to, I ad transgressed the unwritten law...

desertbeachkid
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Re: USAWP Sexual Abuse Investigation

Postby desertbeachkid » Fri Jan 15, 2021 3:13 pm

Ramsey knew about sexual abuse of minors. He failed to report it to law enforcement as required by law. Then he sent a misleading letter to his membership (mostly minors BTW) claiming he did the right thing by reporting that abuse to the Safesport Center. He needs to go. This is not a hard call.

OCPoloDad
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Re: USAWP Sexual Abuse Investigation

Postby OCPoloDad » Tue Feb 09, 2021 11:21 am

More today out of the OC Register in regards to this:

A group of prominent former Olympians, national team members and USA Water Polo board members have asked the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee to require embattled USA Water Polo CEO Chris Ramsey and board chairman Mike Graff resign, the Southern California News Group has learned. In a 19-page, 6,400-word memorandum to Holly Shick, the USOPC chief ethics and compliance officer, Sunday that group also asked the USOPC to launch an ethics investigation into USA Water Polo and made a detailed case “as to why the USOPC should require CEO Chris Ramsey and Board Chair Mike Graff, and indeed the entire USAWP Board, to resign” The memorandum follows a Jan. 15 teleconference between the group and Shick and Onye Ikwuakor regarding Ramsey’s handling of sexual abuse cases and his and Graff’s overall management of the Irvine- based national governing body, a tax exempt nonprofit.

“Our hope is that the USOPC sees everything from the abuse to the governing issues that have been going on and they conduct an investigation,” said Lynn Kachmarik, USA Water Polo’s former ethics chief. “And if they do it’s obvious what has to happen. But what does it say about (the USOPC) if they don’t?” Ramsey is currently under investigation by the U.S. Center for SafeSport for failing to report allegations of sexual abuse to law enforcement or Child Protective Services, according to two people familiar with the case. “We do not understand how an individual could be permitted to remain on active duty as the CEO of an NGB while under investigation by SafeSport on account of credible (and now apparently undeniable) violations of SafeSport which could also lead to criminal prosecution,” the group writes in the memorandum to Shick.

The memorandum was signed by Christopher Duplanty, an Olympic silver medalist, former Olympic team captain and coach, and member of the USOPC board of directors, executive board and a USOPC Athletes’ Advisory Council representative, Andrew McDonald, another Olympic medalist, Erika Figge, a U.S. national team member and All-American at USC, Kachmarik, a Hall of Fame player and coach and former national team captain, Liz Grimes, a former national team and USA Water Polo board member, Rachel Scott Ruano, a national team member and Olympic team assistant coach, and Rafael Ruano, a former national youth team coach and a member of USA Water Polo’s Central California zone board of directors.

A petition calling for Ramsey and Graff’s dismissal has been signed by 900 people, including a number of former Olympic medalists, Olympic and national team members, Olympic team coaches, and USA Water Polo members. The push for Ramsey and Graff’s removal comes against the backdrop of a series of investigative reports by the Southern California News Group in which previously undisclosed confidential USA Water Polo documents, court documents, police reports and interviews that raise questions about Ramsey and USA Water Polo’s handling of sexual and physical, emotional and verbal abuse cases. “The overall reason we ask for this, in short, is because USAWP is not functioning as an NGB as envisioned (indeed, mandated) by the Ted Stevens Sports Act and USOPC Bylaws,” the memorandum said.

USA Water Polo has launched an aggressive campaign at damage control in the wake of the demand for Ramsey and Graff’s dismissals. In interviews with aquatic sports websites, Ramsey has tried to link the Olympians and board members with Manly, Stewart and Finaldi, an Orange County law firm that represents a number of women in civil lawsuits against USA Water Polo stemming from their alleged sexual abuse by club coach Bahram Hojreh. Hojreh trained several teams at the same Los Alamitos facility used by USA Water Polo. USA Water Polo did not respond to a request for comment.

usapologal
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Re: USAWP Sexual Abuse Investigation

Postby usapologal » Wed Feb 17, 2021 2:40 pm

The USWP Board needs to do the "right thing" and resign before the USOPC takes action.

The latest:
https://mailchi.mp/63c59d930c50/update- ... 3156490de9

wpfan77
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Re: USAWP Sexual Abuse Investigation

Postby wpfan77 » Wed Feb 24, 2021 11:54 am


CapeFear
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Re: USAWP Sexual Abuse Investigation

Postby CapeFear » Thu Feb 25, 2021 6:13 pm


wp12
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Re: USAWP Sexual Abuse Investigation

Postby wp12 » Thu Feb 25, 2021 8:43 pm

CapeFear wrote:US Water Polo must clean house.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/25/spor ... stics.html

what does that have to do with water polo?

CapeFear
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Re: USAWP Sexual Abuse Investigation

Postby CapeFear » Fri Feb 26, 2021 8:49 pm

Everything--- same scenario- Sexual Assault by coaches and the U.S. athletic Governing bodies turning a blind eye and not involving law enforcement early on nor addressing the issue. Same thing happened in swimming, and countless other sports. Cover-ups by organizations being exposed finally but late and with lasting scars.

wp12
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Re: USAWP Sexual Abuse Investigation

Postby wp12 » Thu Mar 04, 2021 1:54 am

CapeFear wrote:Everything--- same scenario- Sexual Assault by coaches and the U.S. athletic Governing bodies turning a blind eye and not involving law enforcement early on nor addressing the issue. Same thing happened in swimming, and countless other sports. Cover-ups by organizations being exposed finally but late and with lasting scars.

It's not even remotely the same thing. https://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/n ... aps-wiser/

Ramsey has his detractors, some of whom suggests he’s covering for Hojreh—an almost implausible scenario. However, unlike the man he’s become tied to, Ramsey has never been formerly accused of anything inappropriate. Reports that he’s being investigated by SafeSport must be parsed by the fact that Morgan Stewart, lead attorney for Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, the law firm suing Ramsey, Sicard and USAWP, admitted it was he who called the Center about the USAWP CEO.

Ramsey and Sicard did not contact local authorities after complaints from parents, coaches and zone board members following the July 2017 incidents because—as has been documented—they had already been called.

-32polo
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Re: USAWP Sexual Abuse Investigation

Postby -32polo » Thu Mar 04, 2021 11:14 am

Ramsey and Sicard did not contact local authorities after complaints from parents, coaches and zone board members following the July 2017 incidents because—as has been documented—they had already been called.[/quote]
It does NOT matter that they may have been told someone else contact authorities. There is a change they really were NOT contacted. If you are a mandatory reporter or abuse it is just that MANDATORY. You do not take for granted or someone else's word that it was done. YOU DO IT! This is a serious type of crime and you would think if they truly cared about the athletes in the pool they would have reported it. They would have looked so much better if they had reported it even though someone else had "supposedly" reported the crime. Knight in shining Armour instead of covering up the crimes and protecting themselves "selfish" Time for them to admit they were wrong.
I will leave it up to the authorities and everyone else to say they need to resign or be removed. My own thought on that is just that mine thought.

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