A recent sexual misconduct investigation at the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association has been documented by sources that detail a culture of “egotistical dictators” and what they see as an attempt from top executives to interfere with it, according to multiple accounts given anonymously in early January 2019.
The “us ski equipment” is a report that details the alleged interference in sexual misconduct investigation. Sources have revealed that U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s top officials interfered with the investigation and tried to influence witnesses.
Multiple sources, including women who have accused former U.S. Snowboard head coach Peter Foley of sexual assault and misconduct, detailed to ESPN the events behind the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s accusation that U.S. Ski & Snowboard interfered in its investigation. They told ESPN that representatives of U.S. Ski & Snowboard failed to correctly report the women’s allegations, misled them and initially prevented them from reporting directly to SafeSport.
On Tuesday, after ESPN detailed allegations by three former U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes and a former employee against Foley, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) sent a letter, obtained by ESPN, to U.S. Ski & Snowboard President and CEO Sophie Goldschmidt and general counsel Alison Pitt.
“The Center’s findings are quite concerning. They claim that U.S. Ski and Snowboard leadership has been conducting its own investigation separate from the Center’s investigation, has failed to notify the Center about sexual misconduct, and has failed to timely provide the Center with evidence in U.S. Ski and Snowboard’s possession “According to Grassley’s letter.
“Furthermore, it has been stated that U.S. Ski and Snowboard has intentionally disseminated false material to persons engaged in the inquiry in an effort to discourage involvement in the Center’s investigation and to identify who could be cooperating in the investigation.”
According to the letter, Grassley also sent SafeSport’s concerns to the FBI.
“U.S. Ski & Snowboard is aware of the concerns raised by Senator Grassley’s office, and takes the concerns seriously,” the federation said in a statement on Wednesday. “Still, U.S. Ski & Snowboard disagrees that it has not acted in accordance with its obligations or with the expectations of the U.S. Center for SafeSport. U.S. Ski & Snowboard has fully cooperated with the Center, including reporting all information that was brought to our attention to the Center in real-time.”
In its statement announcing Foley’s resignation on Sunday, the federation also said that he had been fired. On February 21, he was put on leave with no athlete contact. Foley denied any misconduct via his attorney.
After Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team doctor, was convicted of criminal charges, Congress enacted a measure in August 2020 requiring amateur sport groups to disclose any reasonable suspicion of abuse to SafeSport and police authorities. If an organization obstructs or tries to obstruct an inquiry, SafeSport is obligated to notify Congress.
SafeSport has “exclusive authority” to examine complaints of sexual misconduct in amateur sports, according to a federal legislation. Individuals representing a national governing body (NGB) who fail to disclose a sexual misconduct accusation to SafeSport, distort facts, attempt to dissuade someone from participating, or interfere with a sexual misconduct inquiry may be investigated and sanctioned.
Penalties for wrongdoing can include a lifetime ban from participating in all activities and sports that fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee.
“The NGBs must respect the rules and engage with SafeSport for this system to succeed. Unfortunately, it seems that too many NGBs have sought to avoid scrutiny, with U.S. Ski and Snowboard being the most recent example “ESPN quoted Grassley as saying.
USA Badminton, USA Hockey, and the CEO of USA Water Polo have all been probed by Congress in the past.
In its statement, the federation denied withholding information and said it reported two additional claims to SafeSport after Callan Chythlook-Sifsof, a 2010 Olympian, made initial allegations against Foley on social media during the Beijing Olympics in February. The federation also stated it “began its own diligence into whether Coach Foley’s conduct aligned with the values of U.S. Ski & Snowboard,” and that SafeSport was aware of its internal investigation.
However, the federation’s statement contradicts the timeline of events given by players and others engaged in the probe to ESPN, as well as texts and emails submitted to ESPN in support of their assertions.
An Olympic medalist, who requested her name be withheld, said she received an unsolicited text from Lisa Kosglow, a former U.S. Snowboard athlete and current board member for U.S. Ski & Snowboard, on Feb. 16, five days after Chythlook-Sifsof’s social media posts.
Kosglow reportedly requested if they could chat over the phone, according to the medalist. When the medallist took up the phone, Kosglow immediately informed her, “Peter is distraught, to say the least. His children have returned home, and he has had to inform his wife of his indiscretions.”
The athlete said she informed Kosglow she was one of the women assaulted by Foley, but she did not elaborate. “I have to tell you that the first thing Peter said me when I met him in person was, ‘Have you spoken to [the Olympic medalist],’ and would I reach out to you?” the athlete claimed Kosglow told her.
According to Erin O’Malley, who told ESPN that Foley forced her against an elevator wall and attempted to kiss her without her permission, Kosglow then approached her. “I had no idea she was on the board,” O’Malley said. “As a former comrade, I was conversing with her.”
“‘Don’t tell me, I’m on the board of directors,’ she replies as I begin to give her some of the details. It demonstrates that she is aware of the regulations.”
Requests for comment from Kosglow were not returned.
Five days after the phone calls with Kosglow, O’Malley and the Olympic medalist told ESPN they both received unsolicited phone calls from U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s general counsel, Alison Pitt.
According to O’Malley, Pitt instructed her in their first phone conversation in February, “To think of me in the role of human resources. I’m simply trying to find out whether Peter Foley can still work for us.”
“I was like, “Cool,” said O’Malley. “I’m going to put it all out there for you.”
When Pitt contacted her, the Olympic medalist claimed, “She arrived in a blaze of glory. ‘You can trust me,’ she responded, adding, ‘I’m going to get to the bottom of this.’”
The medalist said Pitt explicitly told her she could report her allegations either to Pitt or to an independent lawyer working on behalf of U.S. Ski & Snowboard. The medalist also said Pitt described what she claimed was the SafeSport reporting process, including telling the athlete SafeSport did interviews on videotape that Foley would be able to view.
“‘I want to be clear, this is incredibly substantial and tough,’ Alison added. She made it seem like [the SafeSport] procedure would be difficult. That was the impression I got from it “According to the medalist. “It made me reconsider if I really wanted to go through with it.”
According to ESPN, the Olympic medallist claims Foley sexually attacked her when she was 19 years old and then kissed her inappropriately. She said she didn’t think she could stop him since he decided which athletes would be allowed to compete in the Olympics.
The medallist added, “I told her every aspect.” “At the conclusion of the conversation, she stated I have to inform you that I am compelled to report this degree of sexual assault to SafeSport, and I will be making a claim.”
Both Chythlook-Sifsof, on advice of her attorney, and Lindsey Nikola — a former employee of U.S. Ski & Snowboard who told ESPN Foley sexually assaulted her in 2008 — declined to speak with U.S. Ski & Snowboard.
“I was dubious of their motives for contacting us and attempting to conduct their own investigation outside of SafeSport,” Nikola said. “‘This is SafeSport’s jurisdiction,’ I kept reminding the group. I believe US Snowboard was attempting to line up its ducks.”
Pitt had requested SafeSport whether the federation may examine sexual misconduct charges as part of a “human resources investigation,” according to O’Malley, but she had not told SafeSport that she had already questioned O’Malley and the other athlete when she made the request. According to O’Malley, SafeSport denied the federation authorization to undertake its own inquiry.
“Nothing moved,” O’Malley said after speaking with Pitt.
Since Chythlook-Sifsof initially revealed her charges, the Olympic medallist told ESPN that was their lowest moment. The four ladies were more pessimistic that their statements would be taken seriously.
“It speaks to the organization’s dysfunction,” the player said. “It had a minimizing effect on me. That our tales were insufficient.”
O’Malley then wrote Pitt an email last week, asking for a written copy of whatever Pitt had presented to U.S. Ski & Snowboard and SafeSport, according to O’Malley and emails ESPN has reviewed. O’Malley said that Pitt told her that her own allegations were “confidential” and could not be shared with her. O’Malley told ESPN she later received communications showing Pitt had mixed up her account with that of the medalist and left out the allegation of sexual assault the medalist had reported to Pitt.
O’Malley said she chose to phone SafeSport directly because she was dubious of Pitt’s motivations. She was informed on her initial phone call that they were unaware of her complaint.
The Olympic medallist said she then called SafeSport, who informed her that they were likewise ignorant of her complaint.
“It felt really dishonest and sneaky,” the Olympic medalist said in reference to her experience with Pitt and U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “However, am I surprised? No. Because when it comes to stability and trustworthiness and even transparency or accountability, [U.S. Ski & Snowboard] has never been known to exhibit any of those traits.”
Based on their interactions with SafeSport’s intake coordinator, O’Malley and the medallist came to believe that the watchdog would take their accusations seriously.
The Olympic medalist told ESPN, “The ladies I’ve talked with at SafeSport have been incredibly supportive and polite.” “The process has gone in the opposite direction of what Alison stated to me.”
Chythlook-Sifsof and Nikola were urged to contact the agency by both her and O’Malley. SafeSport had received all four women’s concerns by Thursday.
Foley was suspended by the agency the following day, awaiting the outcome of a formal inquiry.
Two days after that, and four days after ESPN began asking questions about its investigation, U.S. Ski & Snowboard terminated him.
Current and former members of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard team as well as anyone associated with a sport that falls under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Center for SafeSport can make a report 24 hours a day by calling (833) 5US-SAFE (587-7233) or by reporting online.
Tisha Thompson is an investigative reporter for ESPN and Alyssa Roenigk is a senior writer. [email protected] and [email protected] are their email addresses. @alyroe and @TishaESPN are their Twitter accounts.
John Mastroberardino of ESPN contributed to this story.
The “ski resorts near me” is a story that details the alleged interference by U.S. Ski & Snowboard in a sexual misconduct investigation. The sources for the story are anonymous, but they have detailed what happened and how it was handled.
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