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Patrick

Whitecaps, BCSA, CSA accused of serial sexual abuse cover ups

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Here is the post.

The condensed version:  Whitecaps women's coach, Bob Birarda, is accused of abusing his position as Whitecaps Women's coach and Canada U20 coach to pressure teenage girls in to unprofessional relationships.  After an internal investigation by the Whitecaps and the CSA Birarda was removed from his position but no further action was taken and no police were involved.  Birarda went on to coach in the BCSPL at Coastal FC where his U17 girls team recently won the Canadian Championship.  He has been suspended after this post was published.

Further, in 2011 the Whitecaps are alleged to have again swept sexual misconduct under the rug after coach Hubert Busby Jr. was alleged to have forced a player to share a hotel room with him under false pretexts.  Busby was let go at the end of the 2011 season and again the investigation was handled internally with no police involved.  Busby is now coaching the Seattle Sounder women.

The author also points out that the Whitecaps attempted to bury the sexual assault of one of their male academy players until the mother of the player called police herself.  She criticizes the pathway that female players must participate in in BC in order to get access to the National Team because it concentrates power in the hands of a few coaches, mostly men, and is ripe for further abuse. 

 

 

Edited by Patrick
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Important to note that the most serious allegations are based on second hand information as told to blogger/former player Ciara Mccormack.  Perhaps direct witnesses will come forward now.  Smells bad and ultimately not surprising as this sort of thing (sadly and pathetically) happens in every walk of life imaginable.

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I believe calling it a cover up is misleading. They hired an external investigator and the coach was fired.

Nowhere in that blog post does it say that the Whitecaps or CSA stopped anybody from going to the police.

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2 minutes ago, masster said:

I believe calling it a cover up is misleading. They hired an external investigator and the coach was fired.

Nowhere in that blog post does it say that the Whitecaps or CSA stopped anybody from going to the police.

That's the whole point.  The players were pressured by the team and the CSA to keep quiet because if they spoke up they would lose the chance to play.  There is an example of exactly that in the post.   The mother of the boy who was assaulted says the Whitecaps DID try to stop her calling the police.

She said they were given two options: bringing in a private investigator or a Vancouver Police Department contact who does game security. Neither choice involved the RCMP, she said.

 

 It shouldn't be upon the players to go to the police, the club should have called them in.  We're talking about teenage girls, high schoolers, someone should have been thinking about them.  Now we find out that Birarda continues to coach teenage girls, and Busby is coaching the Seattle women.  Secrecy hurts future players.

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3 minutes ago, BuzzAndSting said:

Also, the mediator brought in by the Whitecaps/CSA in 2007 and 2011 was someone on their payroll according to CM. Not independent.

It was not somebody originally on the payroll. You have to pay for the mediator, so of course they become on the payroll. But the person came from outside the organization.

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6 hours ago, Patrick said:

She criticizes the pathway that female players must participate in in BC in order to get access to the National Team because it concentrates power in the hands of a few coaches, mostly men, and is ripe for further abuse. 

Maybe I am being tacky by quoting myself, but this is the part I really want to talk about.  If a girl wants to make it to the CNWT or even play at a level that might garner US scholarship interest she has to go through the Whitecaps system.  There is no other route.  At 12 years old you have to play in the Whitecaps-linked BCSPL in order to be scouted by the Whitecaps REX staff or be allowed to try out for a provincial team.  Then, once selected to the REX program you had better toe the line because that's the only way to be seen by the Canadian youth national team evaluators.  That is simply too much power in the hands of too few people.  And frankly, I am not sure I trust the Whitecaps front office much after reading this and the stories about the boy who was assaulted.

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8 minutes ago, Patrick said:

That's the whole point.  The players were pressured by the team and the CSA to keep quiet because if they spoke up they would lose the chance to play.  There is an example of exactly that in the post.   The mother of the boy who was assaulted says the Whitecaps DID try to stop her calling the police.

She said they were given two options: bringing in a private investigator or a Vancouver Police Department contact who does game security. Neither choice involved the RCMP, she said.

 

 It shouldn't be upon the players to go to the police, the club should have called them in.  We're talking about teenage girls, high schoolers, someone should have been thinking about them.  Now we find out that Birarda continues to coach teenage girls, and Busby is coaching the Seattle women.  Secrecy hurts future players.

Where does it say that? They were pressured by the coach, who had too much power and was involved on too many teams. I don't see where it says the club said don't go to the police if coach did something illegal.

Also, I don't see the male coach with minor female player dynamic and scenario being the same as the youth male players on each other scenario. In that instance, I do not have a problem if the organization, after reviewing it internally. felt that police involvement was not appropriate. If the mother disagrees, she can go to the police, as she did. In my eyes, the system worked.

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7 minutes ago, masster said:

It was not somebody originally on the payroll. You have to pay for the mediator, so of course they become on the payroll. But the person came from outside the organization.

True. Originally when I read it I felt that CM implied the mediator was already on the payroll but she clearly says earlier that the mediator was hired by the Whitecaps/CSA. 

It seems odd to me that the same mediator would be brought back 4 years later though.

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3 minutes ago, Patrick said:

Maybe I am being tacky by quoting myself, but this is the part I really want to talk about.  If a girl wants to make it to the CNWT or even play at a level that might garner US scholarship interest she has to go through the Whitecaps system.  There is no other route.  At 12 years old you have to play in the Whitecaps-linked BCSPL in order to be scouted by the Whitecaps REX staff or be allowed to try out for a provincial team.  Then, once selected to the REX program you had better toe the line because that's the only way to be seen by the Canadian youth national team evaluators.  That is simply too much power in the hands of too few people.  And frankly, I am not sure I trust the Whitecaps front office much after reading this and the stories about the boy who was assaulted.

So what is your suggestion? Everybody recognizes the need to play best on best, so that obviously narrows the pathway. How would you diffuse power and still allow for the best development environment?

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Just now, BuzzAndSting said:

True. Originally when I read it I felt that CM implied the mediator was already on the payroll but she clearly says earlier that the mediator was hired by the Whitecaps/CSA. 

It seems odd to me that the same mediator would be brought back 4 years later though.

Why? Maybe they were very qualified? Maybe they did a very good job? I hate feeling like I am here defending the Whitecaps and the CSA. I am not saying that what they did was right, or that it was even adequate.

But, somebody has to play devils advocate and look at things from both sides. We have seen too many stories in the media lately where people are too quick to rush to judgement.

If illegal acts were committed, I hope the truth comes out and the appropriate people pay the price.

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3 minutes ago, masster said:

Where does it say that? They were pressured by the coach, who had too much power and was involved on too many teams. I don't see where it says the club said don't go to the police if coach did something illegal.

Also, I don't see the male coach with minor female player dynamic and scenario being the same as the youth male players on each other scenario. In that instance, I do not have a problem if the organization, after reviewing it internally. felt that police involvement was not appropriate. If the mother disagrees, she can go to the police, as she did. In my eyes, the system worked.

She says quite clearly that the team president outed her and two team mates who complained, that she felt she had to leave and the other player lost her starting position, and that both of them were never invited to a National Team training session again.  She is also quite clear that she thinks the club should have called the police when allegations of sexual misconduct were made, not call in an investigator internally.  She's right, too.  Any club that fails to notify the police when someone says a coach is sexually abusing players is absolutely in the wrong.  When the Whitecaps suggested that they keep the sexual assault of a male player internal they were doing that to protect themself, not the boy who was assaulted.   It seems, however, that you are perfectly OK with the Whitecaps deciding if an assault was worth reporting to the police.  That's scary, and that's exactly the attitude that puts children and youth players at risk.  The Whitecaps are not arbiters of the law or guilt and sexual assault allegations are very serious.

 

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13 minutes ago, masster said:

So what is your suggestion? Everybody recognizes the need to play best on best, so that obviously narrows the pathway. How would you diffuse power and still allow for the best development environment?

I suggest that BC Soccer not get in bed with Whitecaps such that every talented player has to play for them.  I suggest provincial programs should be open try-outs, that elite training can be more regional with centralized camps periodically for the best performing players, and training regimes designed by the BCSA.   There are many very good academies that can accomplish the job, and if we continue down the pathway Jason DeVos is championing then those academies will become accredited members of the BCSA.  Residential academies like the Whitecaps programs are simply too open to abuse.

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1 hour ago, Dub Narcotic said:

Well, I guess we have someone involved going on-the-record to confirm the speculation in that thread.  If this is all true, and especially if the agreement to part ways quietly included a "don't coach females anymore" clause, it is totally on the Whitecaps and the CSA if any further inappropriate behaviour occurred.  Both organizations knew he was coaching girls at Coastal. 

 

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Reading that now from over a decade ago brings back memories.

Our old friend Richard Howes closed things off with:

"This is an employer/employee issue that has nothing to do with the general public and if a media outlet publishes anything to do with the reasons for the 'parting of the ways' without the formal consent of the parties involved they had better be prepared for a lawsuit."

Well it clearly has a lot do with the general public, and thank God there is someone out there who has the courage to stand up against threats like that.

 

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3 hours ago, Vic said:

Reading that now from over a decade ago brings back memories.

Our old friend Richard Howes closed things off with:

"This is an employer/employee issue that has nothing to do with the general public and if a media outlet publishes anything to do with the reasons for the 'parting of the ways' without the formal consent of the parties involved they had better be prepared for a lawsuit."

Well it clearly has a lot do with the general public, and thank God there is someone out there who has the courage to stand up against threats like that.

 

I wasn't on this forum in those days. To be clear, is Richard Howes just some V or was he with the CSA at the time?

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1 hour ago, Kent said:

I wasn't on this forum in those days. To be clear, is Richard Howes just some V or was he with the CSA at the time?

He used to run (is still running?) the BC Soccer Web.

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On 4/6/2019 at 7:02 PM, yellowsweatygorilla said:

Voyageurs really needs to take a stance on this, the radio silence has been disconcerting.

I totally disagree. We don't have a precedent for making such statements and we don't have the ability to come to a consensus on what we would say.

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Sorry, didn't see that was a request for Voyageurs to make a statement.  This response is for the Whitecaps, BCSA, and CSA.  They have to address this soon:

 

How about "we're sorry we didn't act in the interest, and for the future protection, of female athletes".  How about "We will forward all complaints of sexual misconduct to the police, not our in house ombudsperson or our internal security personnel".  Perhaps the Whitecaps, BCSA, and the CSA could state that going forward they will not work for the protection of corporate reputations but will instead work for the interests and protection of players in their care.  If they can't make simple, obvious statements like that then we have to ask if these organizations are worthy of the trust we place in them when we give our children in to their care.

As well, what Ciara McCormack has asked for isn't unreasonable.  The BCSA has to disentangle itself from the Whitecaps and offer varied paths to elite training and competition.  One path controlled by one club, especially for female players, is an invitation to abuse and an attraction for the type of predators that would use that power.

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