Predators… Roller Derby?

The thing I like the most about modern Roller Derby is the people in it.

The fact that they choose to be associated with the game tells a lot about them; whether they want to get in shape, have something of their very own, or for whatever reason, but I just like to be around them. And communicate with them, which is why I have over 8000 as friends or followers on facebook, I guess.

A year or so ago I was at a tournament and as almost always connected with some great people. One was this lovely lady who like all of us was going through that time of life where you really want to get some of life’s issues resolved. So she became a friend and we followed each other on and off.

The last time I heard from her she was overjoyed; she had found the perfect person (she hoped), he was taking her to places she always wanted to go and they got along so well and were doing things together and so forth.

The other day I heard from her again. Her world was shattered…..I don’t know how she found out, but Mister Perfect (a referee, not yet accredited by WFTDA) was seemingly involved with at least 4 or 5 other women, including a long-term girl friend and was apparently stringing them all along.

And my friend is worried about possible STD or other ramifications and is getting medical tests.

I for one do not believe that anyone’s beliefs or morals should be imposed on others, but this is a relationship built on lies….trying to see how many notches you can get on your belt.

You are all people who can decide what you want to do, and hooking up is certainly an option (and I heard it does occur occasionally), but pure deceit that affects another person is not acceptable in my book.

So does she out him, warn others? She has her own life and who has the time and effort for full revenge

What about a Derby facebook page with stories and photos? The danger here is what if someone just wants to punish an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend?

I am unfriending the alleged predator….the least I can do…..

How would you all handle the situation and alert others, or is it any of our business?

All I know is that a friend is very unhappy.

44 comments on “Predators… Roller Derby?

  1. Although I think our judicial system is an important and integral component of a “civilized” society, I generally think people punishing one another, especially publicly, is not a good idea. I sincerely hope your derby friend is able to make herself safe, and if she feels she needs to pass on information to others to keep them safe, then perhaps she can do so discretely. If we publicly shame those who do not meet our moral standards, then I believe we forfeit the integrity that sets us apart from them.

      • Commish, in your post, you asked how we would handle the situation and I responded my own perspective. It sounds like you really are just looking for support for your idea to make the man’s behavior public. Clearly, you (and perhaps Suri) have more information on the matter than I have, so your perspective is better informed and you might be in a better position than I am to choose the best response. I disagree that this is not a moral issue (he did something bad, no?) and I personally don’t think secretly having five girlfriends qualifies a person for mental illness, although I am not a psychologist (yet). I think he could be mentally ill, but he also might just be a big jerk. All I am saying is, if I make a facebook page that denigrates others for their wrongdoing, then I am also a jerk. If the referee in question is a total creep, I’m sure the league knows by now, and I support not including him in future roller derby activity. If he has committed a crime, then I hope it is reported to the police.

      • Creating a Facebook page or, say blog, about someone creates the opportunity for the author/owner/creator to have a libel lawsuit brought upon them.

  2. It’s not about “revenge”- nor is it simply *sexual* predation.

    This behavior is about power, not simply sexual predation. It’s about controlling women- and the men who support him and therefore who become unwitting accomplices- with lies. Some of the exertion of power is sexual conquest, some is fraudulently convincing women into helpless positions (reliant for citizenship or other support), and some of it is getting other guys to believe his lies so they will gang up against his victims and/or force him on them by continuing to allow him to ref. The need for this kind of power, derived through sheer deception and skillful manipulation on a grand scale, speaks to some serious mental illness. If you’ve never read the description of a narcissistic sociopath, do it- so you know what you’re dealing with here.
    It’s terribly demeaning and dismissive to accuse someone speaking up about this predatory behavior as simply vengeful. And sadly, this particular attack comes from other women as often as it does from men.

    Don’t we owe it to each other to warn our extended derby family about predators like this?

      • While I do think what was done was a rotten thing I really don’t get what any of it has to do with Roller Derby other then the guy was involved in it also. His personal life..along with hers..has nothing to do with skating and I think your headline for this post was pure sensationalism and misleading. I’m sure I’ll get flak for this but that’s how I see it. If the two had been office workers would the headline have read..sexual preditors in the office? She had a terrible thing happen to her in her personal life and I’m sorry it happened to her but this story has nothing to do with roller derby.

      • I agree with David…it really has nothing to do with Roller Derby other than it happened to someone in Derby. Sorry that she was seduced and believed that she was the only one in his life with out checking him out first. The situation was brought on by both, you cannot just lay blame on the guy (yes, he has many women and so do Polygamists…this is their life) You cannot hold him as a criminal and in the same breathe you cannot hold it against her for not looking into him…life happens and it is how we deal with it that makes us, lets not slam one for the sake of another…..everyone who gets involved with another human being should do some research on them first and find out who they really are, as we always show our best sides to knew people and are on our best behavior for at least a year. Then the true nature shows…please do not get me wrong, I am not defending this man, but we must all take some responsibility for things that happen to us. ❤

      • @Annie
        There’s a difference between “polygamy” and “cheating.” If the dude was, as Jerry states, leading each woman to believe that she was in a monogamous relationship, that is not poly. That’s lying.

        “Without checking him out?” When you enter in to a relationship, I assume it is built on respect and trust. If your partner says that he is exclusive to you, how deep in to his past (or present!) do you go before you decide that he is telling the truth? If he’s such an accomplished liar that FOUR women each believed that he was exclusive to them, do you really think that anything short of a full scale investigation would have revealed his indiscretions? To lay the blame at ANY of these women’s feet is absurd. It is not their responsibility to run exhaustive background checks on each and every potential mate.

        As for what does this have to do with derby… from what I gather, each of the 4 women was on the same team, which, like it or not, takes this from a “personal” issue to a “derby” issue. How does or should one handle such things within a derbyocracy? Even if it weren’t a derby-social-circle-specific situation, it’s still life. These things are still worthwhile to discuss, even outside of the derbyverse.

    • Ugh. I am betting you would not be saying these things about him if the gender roles were reversed, or if it were a female ref sleeping with female skaters.

      Why can’t it just be that he is man who has found himself lusting after or falling in love with more than one woman at a time? He’s not letting them know they’re his only partner for lots of reasons that don’t require him to be medicated and institutionalized. He’s probably ignorant of the risks, he surely doesn’t want to “ruin it”, and quite likely he’s too afraid of hurting any of them or being hurt and rejected, himself. Plus, his hookups are probably very much the result of chemistry of the moment, situations that don’t involve much talking about either party’s true relationship status, and downplaying whatever is uncertain…just going with the flow and having fun, as so many people do for months or years before they’re comfortable saying that they’re actually “seeing” anyone at all.

      He sounds like a typical young adult with poor impulse control and a tendency to make selfish decisions, especially where sex is involved. As a man in our culture, he probably has way less experience than women his age in being honest with himself and with others about his feelings and the risks of his choices.

      People do this all the time, but when a woman does it, no one calls her a deranged sexual predator. Maybe they call her some other name that’s unfair and judgmental, but not a manipulative deviant, a mentally ill sociopath who craves power. By viewing everything he does through the lens that makes him out to be a web-of-lies-weaving puppetmaster, you are also totally setting him up to be called a date rapist the minute one of the women decides they weren’t 100% sure they wanted to sleep with him.

      Now, if he got into reffing derby just so he could take advantage of his position of authority, maybe he does have some deeper problems. But even then, it seems to me to be more a sign of (all too common) immaturity and a lack of empathy. So far, all I’ve heard suggests that he is just a douchebag.

      • From Jerry’s post I get the feeling that he is not a young adult with poor impulse control but a grown-ass man who deceived this woman into thinking it was exclusive, and serious. He indicates she is a woman not a girl, and I’m guessing he was a man not a boy. And your post, just making excuses for cowardly behaviour and victim shaming.

    • If this person were such a skillful manipulator, do you think others could be manipulated by him? That these “other guys” are really guilty, simply by association?

  3. There’s not enough information to make am informed decision, but based on the information provided, if I were this girl, I would talk to the other girls this man is involved with and tell them my story. They may our may not believe me or act on the information, but you can’t help that… Gossiping about this man to those not involved might be taking things too far, unless he has physically harmed our endangered someone.

  4. There is *definitely* a difference between simple one-off jackasses and repeating predators- although it would be a massive understatement to say a predator is a “jackass”. How many times does the same story, the same pattern, need to repeated for the definition to change from jackass to predator, in your estimation? This affects women outside of derby, too- but we can at least do something to look out for our own.
    I don’t believe the code of conduct is specific enough to cover this behavior, which, in addition to deeply damaging the lives of the individuals directly affected, causes drama within leagues and pits people against each other. Common sense dictates that the leagues involved would avoid this kind of individual, but often times the layers of lies and manipulation obscure common sense.

  5. If this woman is now worried about STIs where was her concern when she could have said “not without a condom” in the beginning? Shouldn’t she take some responsibility for her choices?

    • If the woman was lead to believe that she was in a monogamous relationship with said dude, one what planet could she be expected to be fearful of STIs? What sort of victim blaming nonsense is that? (I guess you could be running under some sort of assumption that neither party has been tested in the entirety of their relationship, but that seems like a weak argument at best.)

      Even if it were a poly relationship, I don’t think it’s out of bounds for the onus to be on the dude to being actively making the decision to wear a condom with other partners, or at the very least, have ALL persons involved tested. The fact that he was screwing around, violating the trust of this relationship, and putting her at risk makes this HIS FAULT, not hers.

      • No one is victim blaming. He’s pointing out that both partners are equally accountable to safety around sexual contact, and thus she is NOT a victim in that regard. One what planet? On THIS planet you’d better darned well take precautions. If someone is able to step out with three or four other women–getting each to believe she is in a monogamous relationship–none of the relationships rose to a level of intimacy to think that protection is unnecessary.

        Now, yes, HE is the one that put her at risk, so breaking both trust and exposing her to risk is absolutely his fault. (And I don’t think anyone commenting here thinks that the guy in question has any redeemable qualities.) But we all assume risks in live–in body and in heart. And it is up to each of us to mitigate those risks the best we can.

      • @Davidicus (why there can’t be more than 2 tiered responses is beyond me), if he’s gotten even ONE woman to believe that they’re in a monogamous, exclusive relationship with him, that is pretty much the exact definition of when one would assume it’s safe to be with their partner without protection. The fact that he was “able” to achieve this with multiple women, each believing that THEY were his exclusive mate, is exactly why it isn’t their responsibility to insist on protection. Given the scope of information that is available to them, they have no reason to believe that STI protection is still necessary! _They don’t know about the other partners, and he does_.

    • Sidebar, the part where it’s the woman’s responsibility to make sure that the dude wears a condom. Obviously, she can and should make the request, but let’s not pretend that guys have no agency in this decision.

  6. The issue I have is associating innocents with someone who has mad bad choices via Suri’s statment “…and some of it is getting other guys to believe his lies so they will gang up against his victims and/or force him on them by continuing to allow him to ref.” This sounds like a witch hunt. Bring everyone down that was ever associated with this bad boyfriend. Is that what derby is about? No one helping each other? Anyone with a past is not welcome? I disagree, especially when you’re condemning someone that had nothing to so with the original sins.

    • We’d probably lose a bunch of officials and skaters if everyone was “guilty by association” with someone who’s ever lied to get sex.

    • I’m not sure how that’s a witch hunt. It’s certainly an “us vs them” thing, where on one side you have the women who were lied to and whoever supports them, and on the other, you have the dude who was lying to them and whoever supports him. But if the dude in question was actually factually screwing around on everyone (which is pretty easy to confirm, unless you believe that MULTIPLE women would make false accusations), and actually has people supporting him (believe that he didn’t do it, believe that what he did was ok, whatever), you’ve created a pretty hostile situation ANYWHERE, and absolutely in your league. Letting this sit out in the open and rot will destroy your league/your sense of community. How can the people who were cheated on be expected to get back on the track with a bunch of people who either a) assaulted them/violated their trust/etc and/or b) believe them to be liars/overreacting/whatever?

      Part of rape culture (and this trickles down to the specific issue we’re discussing here) is the default setting of believing the accused instead of the victim(s). That is the only situation where your idea that everyone should be welcome and included and happyfuntimes makes sense, if you believe that the victim(s) should not actually have an issue with this guy, or with the people that support him. You may be trying to stay neutral (“hey, let’s all be friends and give everyone a fair shake!”), but by forcing the people who have been deceived/etc by him to be in his presence, you’re tacitly siding with him. (Ie, allowing the victims no agency and disregarding the fact that they feel threatened or uncomfortable.)

      We SHOULDN’T be willing to let this behavior slide. This isn’t a court of law, this is interpersonal relationships, where everything is hinky and sticky. If all parties involved can work it out, or come to something vaguely resembling a truce, awesome. Problem solved. It then ceases to be a “witch hunt”. But if they can’t, you’re going to have to pick a side. In which case, options:

      A) Believe the girls who were cheated on. Believe that the dude shows no remorse or apology. Believe that they cannot coexist together. Ask the dude to leave.

      B) Believe the girls who were cheated on. Accept that they are unable to work things out. Allow the dude to stay, causing the girls to feel uncomfortable. The girls probably leave. You continue to support bad behavior by allowing the dude to not have consequences for his actions, you accept the fact that he may continue with this bad behavior with other members of your league.

      C) Believe that the dude did nothing wrong. Accept that the girls are lying or hysterical or both and will only bring drama to the league. Ask the girls to leave.

      There is no D) Have everyone exist in happyfunland, pretend that this didn’t happen, continue as normal.

      Clearly, there is no easy answer, here. But pretending that these issues aren’t real or can swept under the rug in the interest of “helping”, or giving people second chances, isn’t exactly realistic.

      And, to be fair, this comment extends across ALL relationships and groups, not just derby. It being derby just makes it particularly hinky, because active trust and respect is SO vital to having a well performing, functional league.

  7. I think the part some people don’t understand is that a bad partner is someone who makes a mistake, but learns from it. A predator is someone who continues to manipulate people and victimize over and over and not just one person, but a slew of them. A predator continues to abuse and doesn’t see anything wrong with the behavior. The predator lies and blames their victims, just as the rapist says, “she was asking for it.” We are not referring to a bad break-up or just one victim. We are talking about one perpetrator and dozens of victims.

  8. As far as i can see…all the talk is about who is the wrong and who is the wronged. No one actually answered the question. Here is my answer. If i were her, i wouldn’t create a page that could be twisted against me….but i damn sure would have a get together with the other women and i would certainly warn as many as i could to avoid this man. Whether he is simply a fat-headed jerk or clinically disturbed, my world would know about it. And i would request mediation to create a clear path of action for future reference where league activity was concerned. (If someone was asked to leave over it….i assure you it would not be me)
    Also. Deception in matters of the heart are never acceptable, for any reason, at any age. If you disagree, your momma didn’t raise you right!

  9. When I bring in a new Ref (generally Male, but sometimes female) I often give the following ‘Speech’ in some manner or another:

    Derby is not a hook up. If that is what you are looking for, you’ll do better and faster on Craigslist. I’m not going to say relationships or opportunities won’t happen between consenting adults, but that isn’t the focus. Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that in most cases, if/when a relationship goes bad, the team will circle the wagons around the skater, leaving the Official as odd person out.

    Our league has had a few people who came around for the ‘girls’ and generally they left after a month or so. We’ve even had one that stayed around about 6 months, and did hook up with about 5 of our Skaters. However, it was known between him and the partner that he wasn’t looking for anything serious or monogamous. It did cause some issues with the skaters in question, however, he was up front and honest that he wasn’t looking for a serious relationship with them. They chose themselves to hook up with him at that point.

    Now, since we’ve gone from a Random “What about Predators” in the article to a specific situation. I really can’t comment. I don’t know the Ref or the league, or the skaters in question nor their specifics. However, the Ref is being vilified without being able to give his side of the story either. I’m not saying that the number of women with similar stories are lying, nor am I saying they are incorrect. what I am saying is that without BOTH sides of the story we can’t make a determination as to whether he’s a sexual deviant manipulating and coercing women into sex (asshole) or just a lothario who’s free with his love. (Sexually open hippie)

    • That’s right. We don’t know both sides of this. Speaking as a former slut that lived a polyamorous lifestyle, I would have never considered myself a predator. Of course I am a woman so I am pretty sure even this crowd might have thought my lifestyle choices were ok. Do we really know this guy set up multiple “exclusive” relationships? Is it even possible for a derby ref to use his position of authority to carry that influence off the track to a sexual relationship? I am not saying that the hearsay about this guy’s behavior should be ignored but it is exactly that, hearsay, Men and women make personal choices about relationships every day. I would hate to see a community as close knit as the derbyverse begin to develop a habit of public shame over a personal choice based on hearsay.

      • As I’ve pointed out elsewhere on the internet, because Jerry has kept people anonymous, and isn’t directly involved with any course of action to it, this is really more of a thought exercise specific to such issues. Given that (ie, to any of us, this isn’t actually a real situation), “other sides” are irrelevant. The information presented in this thought exercise is given to be true. Given said information, what is the (if any) appropriate course of action?

        Because this isn’t an actual court (neither is real life), how much “hearsay” needs to be heard before “hearsay” becomes “fact” (or at least, “believable”)? Do two of the women need to talk to each other? Three? Four? If two women talk to each other and/or speak out about something like this, but the guy continues to deny it, is it still hearsay? If a real accusation falls in a community, does it make a bigger sound than the assumed false ones?

        As for whether or not poly persons are sluts/predators… if they’re open and honest, no. You can sleep with infinity plus one people, as long as all infinity plus one people are made aware that you’re also sleeping with the other infinity people. I don’t think the issue here is whether or not any of the people in the scenario are poly.

    • If one woman thought they were exclusive and the dude thought they were poly, and so used that to screw around, that dude is not poly. That dude is just screwing around. (Lone loophole: woman told man she wanted to be exclusive. Man told woman he intended to be poly. Woman went about her business assuming they were exclusive.)

      Even if the dude and ANY of the women involved HAD decided that they were poly, poly (or “free hippie love”), contrary to popular belief, is not a free-for-all. Responsible poly means that each person involved in any part of the spiderweb is equally open and honest with each of their partners. Even if that version of open and honest is “you can date/sleep with whoever you want, just don’t tell me about it.” If one partner is doing things that violate the parameters of the relationship (whatever that relationship is, and whatever those boundaries are – it literally doesn’t matter as long as they’re respected), especially if those parameters include STI testing/safe sex (“sleep with whoever you want, just be safe”; “sleep with whoever you want just get everyone tested”; even “I am not tested and I am having unprotected sex with multiple partners” – again, if that’s a KNOWN risk/parameter, that’s FINE. Icky, IMO, but fine.), they put every single other person in that web at risk, both physically and emotionally. By violating the terms of your relationship agreement, you have violated the other person’s giving of consent. You have bait-and-switched your partner. “Free hippie love” is not is not actually a viable defense of a lifestyle, so much as a weak excuse for bad behavior.

      Poly is fucking HARD. It requires you to be constantly checking in with each of your partners, to be attentive to each and every one of their needs and wellbeing in the construct that you have crafted for each other. If the boundaries of any of your relationships start to shift (maybe 1 was your primary, but now you think that you and 2 really have something that elevates the type of connection you have to something more serious; maybe you HAVE been exclusive to 1, 2, and 3, but now you’ve met 4 and you’d like to explore things with them – and maybe 1, 2, and 3 are ok with there being a 1, 2, and 3, but feel like 4 would be too many people for them to be comfortable sharing you with; or maybe you don’t think it’s going to work out with 3, but 3 and 1 are also partnered; or any ridiculous permutation you can possibly think of), you need to communicate that to everyone involved, so that everyone else can make informed choices about their own behavior and expectations.

      If you’re not doing that, you’re not poly. You’re not a free-loving hippie lothario. You are, at best, inconsiderate; moderately, a selfish douchebag; and at worst, an actual predator.

  10. I think this quote sums it up for me.

    “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” ― Anne Lamott

  11. Simple definition of a predator: a person or group that ruthlessly exploits others. To exploit (in this sense) is to use selfishly for one’s own ends. I personally know a derby ref who fits this description; we’ve worked a bout together, attended the same WFTDA Officiating Clinic, have mutual friends, & are connected on FB. One of my degrees is in Psychology and I’ve worked in residential treatment facilities for severely emotionally disturbed adolescents in California and Georgia – I’ve seen and read plenty of cases involving sociopathic and antisocial behaviors. That said, one need not necessarily have expertise in a field to get a sense of another’s affliction (for example, I don’t have to be a medical doctor to look at someone who has a bone sticking out of their arm to determine it’s fractured/needs medical attention).

    But I digress. This charismatic ref has admitted to exploiting others (on FB even – for a time, his cover picture was pasted with the word “Liar” & an accompanying post described how he deceived an unsuspecting single mom for years), and yet continues to do so. His progressing pattern of deceit, accompanied by his total lack of remorse or contrition, indicates his sociopathic tendencies. This man has no conscience or empathy and is using his position as a roller derby official to find his victims. He attends Roller Con and applies for tournaments whenever & wherever he can; he finds a skater, lies to her to get what he wants, and then moves on to another (sometimes after weeks, sometimes after months) to satiate his ego. The reason his actions proliferate is because some of you are right: it’s not illegal to be an asshole. However, we don’t need to be assholes either by victim-blaming, making excuses for him, or minimizing what he has done (& continues to do). His morally reprehensive behavior may not be technically breaking any laws, but it is clear he is willfully fooling many roller derby women and leaving a trail of damage behind. The WFTDA Code of Conduct, although vague with specifics (& rightfully so), does clearly state that members should be free from harassment & abuse and conduct themselves with honesty, fairness, and integrity (& in a manner that does not detract from the image of the league).

    Although I think setting up a public site with salacious details calling him out could potentially backfire or be considered libelous if emotions get out of control, skaters have a right to know about the facts surrounding his behavior. As a derby community, we should not allow toxic people to use our sport to troll for victim after victim; by informing WFTDA officials and warning other leagues and women about how he has conducted himself, perhaps it will prevent another woman or league from suffering. I’d like to think this thread isn’t about revenge but about trying to look out for fellow skaters so they, too, don’t fall prey to someone who has proven time and time again that his intent is to manipulate and use women for his benefit.

  12. Jerry, If you wanted a “go-ahead” to not like this person you didn’t need the commiseration of people that know this guy. If you wanted to feel sorry for your Canadian friend and his Coloradan ex-fiance you didn’t need the approval of the people who read your blog.

    • I didn’t see anywhere Jerry mentioning an ex-fiancé from Colorado? Did I miss something? Only mentions his Canadian friend, who he seems to be defending and using as an example to point at a bigger discussion. A discussion that I think is valuable to the sport. I see this as being beyond a personal agenda to dislike this person.

  13. all I can say geekgoddess, is you are correct, and I must have hit very close to home.
    and I think he has his sexes messed up.

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