Studies show between 2 to 8 percent of child athletes are victims of sexual abuse.
Several cases of sexual misconduct by U.S. fencing coaches have recently rocked the sport. Clearly, most victims are minors, commonly girls in their teens.
Fencing is an Olympic sport that is also a martial art. It also has a long tradition. While thankfully no longer a duel to the death, it still follows the same age-old rules and rituals. For instance, fencers still duel with a foil, epee, and sabre, all specialist swords designed to emulate the original weapons used.
Fencing is a highly disciplined, physically and mentally demanding sport that some dub physical chess. This makes it difficult to fathom how those involved in the sport could act in such an undisciplined, indecent, obscene, and demeaning manner.
Some of the fencing sexual abuse claims include allegations that go back years. This is in keeping with the much publicized sexual abuse case involving the U.S. women’s gymnastics team doctor, Larry Nasser. Some cases are still pending legal action.
Many sports, including fencing, take place in an environment where coaches are alone with young athletes. This creates an opportunity for unscrupulous sexual predators. These are people who exploit, groom, and ultimately violate their victims. Often this sexual violation takes place over many months and even years.
As experienced sexual abuse lawyers, we recognize that sexual abuse in sports is widespread. We also know how hard it is for sexual abuse victims to name, shame, and bring legal action against their abusers.
If you’ve been sexually abused in the sports arena, consider getting help from experienced lawyers, like us.
SafeSport Resources for Fencing
Recognizing that sport can be a high-risk environment for physical and sexual abuse, USA Fencing introduced a SafeSport Policy in 2013. The policy defines all forms of prohibited conduct by those involved in the sport and describes offensive behavior and sexual misconduct.
It covers education and awareness required by staff and professional USA Fencing members. It also describes reporting of offences, discipline, and response to allegations along with other policies. Plus, there is an abuse-reporting form to make reporting abuse as easy as possible.
But fencing sexual abuse has increased since this time, which USA Fencing recognizes. In a statement released in August, 2021, the organization was launching new USA Fencing SafeSport initiatives. These include educational opportunities and an undertaking to make environments for training, competition, and other participation safer.
The organization also urged anyone who has experienced sexual, physical, or emotional abuse with the sport of fencing to report these incidents to the U.S. Center for SafeSport.
Protocol is that anyone sanctioned, suspended, or banned because of sexual misconduct or child sexual abuse within U.S. Olympic sport is listed on www.usafencing.org/safe-sport and www.uscenterforsafesport.org.
Fencing Sexual Abuse Cases
According to USA Fencing’s official ineligibility list, there are currently 10 individuals banned from USA Fencing membership. Three are former members who are ineligible for membership, with one suspended.
The first banned member was Nitai Kfir, a two-time Israeli national fencing champion who was charged with the sexual abuse of a 13-year-old U.S. prodigy he was coaching. That was in 2011. The most recent are Ra’ad Rabieth and Rob Piraino, both banned in 2021.
Other arrests include:
- Fencing coach Ra’ad Rabeih in July 2021 in connection with abuse charges in 2014
- Robert Charles Piraino, also a fencing coach, in August 2021, on charges of sexual activity with a minor from 219 to 2021.
Both cases are still pending.
These aren’t all the offenders. There are others that have also had substantial media attention. So don’t delay reporting incidents.
Fencing Sexual Abuse FAQ
Most questions our clients ask our lawyers about fencing sexual abuse relate to procedures to follow. We have answered some of these questions here. But here are a couple of other FAQs for your information.
Why are fencing coaches so often the abusers?
Coaches in all sports are teachers and mentors. They have a special relationship with the people they train and often develop an emotional bond with them. It’s very easy for them to abuse the trust of young people they train.
Are all fencing sexual abusers punished?
Some fencing sexual abusers go to jail. But, like all criminals, fencing sexual abusers need victims to report their crimes. They also need to face charges and be convicted. Whether you are an adult or a parent acting for a minor, to take abusers to court, you’re going to need an attorney. An attorney will assess your case and advise a good route to take.
How Lemberg Law Attorneys Can Help You
If you or a member of your family has been a victim of any type of sexual abuse, the experienced lawyers at Lemberg Law can help. We are understanding, knowledgeable, and compassionate.
Whether you have suffered physical and/or emotional trauma, our attorneys will assess what compensation you are eligible for. They will do everything legally possible to ensure you get the reparation you deserve.
If you are a victim, don’t think twice. Contact the lawyers at Lemberg Law for a free case evaluation.
Who are we? We are Lemberg Law, a Consumer Law Firm with an excellent reputation for compassionate and aggressive lawyering
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