On Monday January 24th,
2011 USA Hockey's Executive Director Dave Ogrean received a very disturbing
email from the parent of a member describing the extremely deviant sexual
behavior of Massachusetts Maple Leafs coach Anthony DeSilva. Instead of
following through and contacting local law enforcement authorities, Ogrean and
USA Hockey allowed a sexual predator to fall through the cracks. For that,
Ogrean should resign.
The father of former Maple Leafs
player Alex Rivers sent a letter to Ogrean back in 2011 describing DeSilva's
actions towards his then 18 year-old son Alex.
USA Hockey spokesman Dave Fischer
claims that Eastern States Hockey League officials were unable to uncover
sufficient evidence to support claims in regard to DeSilva.
Fischer told South Coast Today's Natalie Sherman USA
Hockey officials launched an investigation two days after receiving the email. They closed the inquiry in March of that year, he said.
Andrew "Sarge" Richards, who conducted the investigation, said he
closed it because he was never able to talk to the player. The league screens
coaches every two years and Rivers' complaint was the first and only against
DeSilva he was aware of, he said.
did what we could. We're not a legal society," Richards said. "We
encouraged the family at the time, if they felt the allegations they were
presenting were factual, to take it to the legal authorities. The fact that
they never did - I don't know why," he said.
Hockey felt that Richards was qualified to conduct such an investigation? I
know Richards and question his ability to investigate a parking ticket, much
less the behavior patterns of a sexual predator.
contents of the transcripts of the text messages DeSilva sent to Rivers should
have raised enough red flags to initiate a criminal investigation.
Hockey consider the youth hockey players that were also under the direction of
DeSilva? As the executive director of the game's national governing body, how
could Ogrean rest knowing that DeSilva was still on the bench?
County (Fl.) Sheriff Grady Judd agrees that Ogrean and USA Hockey mishandled
the situation. "They don't want the bad press, and it's not uncommon for organizations
to suppress information," the outspoken sheriff told us Monday. "We see it over
and over that these situations, the Catholic Church, Penn State, everyone has
had these same issues and it is very embarrassing for the groups."
also believes that placing the responsibility of the Rivers investigation into
the hands of the ESHL commissioner was also very irresponsible. "Ethically and
morally, everybody has an obligation to report instances to the proper
authorities," Judd said. "I promise that with the 40 years of law enforcement, I
know that DeSilva has been doing this for his entire hockey coaching career."
after sexual predators is a difficult task because it's the silent crime and
the kids are embarrassed," Grady concluded. "A lot of law enforcement agencies
go out of their way avoid these cases and in reality, we all need to work
together to protect the victims."
Hockey appears to now be playing a game of hot potato. Fischer claims that the
national office passed the information onto the ESHL and the ESHL's Richards is
saying that he was getting direction from USA Hockey and the Junior Council.
Esdale, the USA Hockey Vice-President and Junior Council Chairman at that time,
told us Monday that he had not seen the transcripts of the text messages that
were sent between Alex Rivers and the disgraced coach. "I just wanted to talk
to the kid at the time," Esdale said. "Obviously, he was just not ready. I
could have taken some type of action, but had to go on more than just the email
timing of Rivers' email to Ogrean affect USA Hockey's response? The scandal at
Penn State with Jerry Sandusky was not in full bloom until November of 2011.
Theo Fleury's book "Playing with Fire" was released late in 2009, bringing
forward new allegations against Graham James. I have to agree with Sheriff
Judd, the last thing that USA Hockey wanted to deal with was another hockey sex
must have been reminded about DeSilva every time he say Sandusky's face or name
on TV, why did he not insist that Rivers' allegations against the Mass Leafs
coach be looked at again?
right thing to do would have been to turn over the investigation to an entity
outside of the game to avoid the apparent conflict of interest that we see
today. As the man on top, Ogrean had a responsibility to realize that his
organization does not have the expertise to investigate offenses of this
nature. The copy of the text messages provided enough information to suspend
DeSilva at the time, pending the outcome of a more thorough inquiry. That did
not happen, putting every USA Hockey member, not to mention other potential
victims outside of the game, into a dangerous situation while interacting with
situation is very comparable to former Penn State University President Graham
Spanier. Spanier is currently out on bail on charges related to the attempted cover-up
of Sandusky's crimes involving the university. One of those charges is child
endangerment. By definition alone, USA Hockey officials could be at risk
because they knowingly subjected minor children to inappropriate or dangerous
organizations should be held to the same standards as schools. At the same
time, all players at the junior level should expect the same level of
protection from predators as players at the youth level. Sexual misconduct and
harassment is a crime, and needs to always be treated as such.
just read this and agree. Do something. Join me, and many others, by demanding
Ogrean's immediate resignation. It's time that the leaders in Colorado Springs
understand that the game belongs to the players, not the administrators.
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Stephen Heisler resides in Puerto Penasco, Mexico with
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