All-Star Jerry Harris Sentencing

catlady

Cheer Parent
Jun 6, 2012
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Guess I'm not done. Oops, hope everyone was in the mood for my novels today. :D

Look, I don't think a gym alone can prevent this completely and agree that parents need to be involved. However, the gym gives them access. These coaches don't magically appear and immediately have the trust of the athlete and parents... They get in, spend tons of time and slowly groom these kids (and often the parents). If some 25 year old approaches a 15 year old in a parking lot or pool, that's gross and weird and most kids are not giving them the time of day. But when the 25 year old is like "family" and coaches you and spots your tumbling and helps you reach your goals, suddenly it's not as creepy.

There is no magic answer to stop this. It's a collaboration between parents, gym owners, EPs, and a real governing body to at least minimize these risks and educate everyone. Right now, we have an industry that values money over the safety of the athletes and that right there is the biggest problem.
I applaud both of your posts, you obviously put a lot of thought into it. Do I think those things can help with some of the more obvious cases? Absolutely. Do I think that will keep predators away from kids in this industry? I'll share what my now adult kids that were the first out of the gate with SM and tech have now confessed what they and all their friends did....

They had access to phones, ipods, and tablets 24/7. For those that say, "Not my kid,".... funny, but mine weren't allowed 24/7 access either. I was informed by my now adult kid's, they found old tech to keep hidden in their rooms. Grounded or not allowed to have tech? No worries, friends would find and provide old tech for them. Fun fact, a bunch of kids set up an "old tech device donation day" at their HS and got permission from their parents to donate their old tech....and, then they passed them out to whomever "needed" them. These kids created their own emails and established fake names to be on SM they're not allowed to be on...My kid's kept those apps on old tech, so when I checked their phones, it was fine. They were on dating apps "just for fun" and to see who "liked them back." They pretended to be older to see who would be interested in them. Evidently, a lot of people looovvvve cheerleaders. My kid's said this was common practice and not something just a few of them did. This is literally how naive I was to my generally very obedient kids.

This isn't about a creep just showing up in the parking lot. This is about the creep your kid has been talking to on SM media for months, without your knowledge, and that creep already has their trust and they're meeting for the first time on that parking lot. FYI, my kid's were and still are the kid's that allow me to track them no problem. My kid's were always honest about where they were going....just, not always honest about who they were with.
 

Momager

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Nov 22, 2013
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I agree with coach Tamara that there is much the industry could do to make the atmosphere safer for children. There are some vulnerabilities that children bring to the situation through no fault of their own, that makes them susceptible to predatory enticements and later to continuing the cycle. First, as in Jerry's case, there is disrupted attachment. ( I am not diagnosing, just using his circumstance as an example) Whenever a child is raised by someone other than their natural parent, no matter how loving and caring the substitute caretaker is, there may be disrupted attachment. Some people get the things they need out of life with no major difficulties, but overall this population is over represented in the criminal justice system and among addiction medicine clientele. A child may be more vulnerable to praise and perceived love and attention. Perpetrators seek them out, sensing the child's positive responses to their attention. Whereas my kid would say, "Gee, that guy is creepy, looking at me and smiling for no reason" , a child with disrupted attachment may look at the same guy and interpret the attention as praise and fondness.
Other vulnerable children are those who have suffered some kind of abuse or sexualized behavior from a family member or trusted person in the past, or a child that is bulled for who they are can also be more vulnerable to the grooming and positive attention from a perpetrator. These incidents are vastly underreported and kept secret by the victims. Because it is a cycle, people who cheer and are targeted as children grow up to coach and target children when they become adults.
The law has a magic age, 18 years old. when suddenly everyone is mature and responsible for their behavior but human development does not have such a magic day when suddenly everyone has the cognitive and emotional maturity to understand their responsibility. The industry can certainly put some safeguards and standards in place to reduce these incidents, as Coach Tamara suggests. Schools have been working on this for years.

JBS can probably give us some lessons not yet learned in light of recent abuse of young gymnasts by Larry Nasser and other widely known incidents of coaches and athletes. Swimming has tales to tell as well. And now we know even hockey has their own scandal.
 

oncecoolcoachnowmom

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Mar 2, 2014
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I think people also forget that abusers don’t just groom children, they groom parents as well and parents need to be aware of that.

If an abuser presented himself as a creepy abuser stereotype, everyone’s parents would be onto them the second they stepped into the gym.

But they don’t. They come disguised as that guy who has coached your daughter since she was five. The guy who is always saying “that’s my little sis yassssss.” The one you trust enough to feel comfortable letting your kids go on beach vacation with them. You name it.

Even just across social media you can see athletes that are way too close to these adult coaches and parents who are obviously comfortable. Like I don’t think an adult needs to take a minor athlete on vacay. Or call them “best friend.” But that’s just me personally. Adults should have adult friends.

Even if someone is a legal adult as in 18, I still really think that for example, a grown 40 year old man has no business hanging out with them in a social capacity outside of coaching in the gym. And in many of those cases where this is happening, the adult was definitely hanging out with this person while they were a minor.

That’s why I think it’s important for parents to establish boundaries with these people from day one. Just like you would with your kid’s teachers or anyone else. My child is not your friend and this is an afterschool activity.
 
Dec 28, 2009
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Even if someone is a legal adult as in 18, I still really think that for example, a grown 40 year old man has no business hanging out with them in a social capacity outside of coaching in the gym. And in many of those cases where this is happening, the adult was definitely hanging out with this person while they were a minor.

And it absolutely BLOWS my mind that everyone continues to use these coaches and choreographers like it's all no big deal. Parents need to make it a big deal, and a non-affiliated governing body needs to ban these people. I'm glad you can win nationals, but at what cost? It's the most frustrating part of this industry. Your music is worth working with and supporting a convicted child predator? Give me a break.

Unfortunately, a lot of these parents are also in "abusive" relationships with the gym and will turn a blind eye at everything OR they aren't educated enough to know who they are supporting. I think the parents are the ones that are going to have to make things change (with their pocketbooks) but I'm not sure it'll ever happen.
 

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