People Attempting to Undermine Safe Sport

Starting a new thread, because others are long enough already.

The following was publicly posted on Facebook as of Sunday…

”I have heard that the false allegations are starting against Olympic hopefuls to try and knock people out of contention. Watch your backs and don’t spread rumors. Unless you have real facts you better shut up. This is where the real crap starts. All of you hopefuls watch your backs.”

Can anyone point to a particular part of Safe Sport code that speaks to the issue of individuals vocally, repeatedly, and very publicly attempting to undermine Safe Sport rules and regulations? The same rules and regulations they completed training with respect to, and agreed to abide by in order to maintain status as an active member of USEF in good standing?

Perhaps this is just noise. Or… perhaps it is actually a BLATANT attempt to intimidate possible witnesses and plant the seeds of a PR strategy for a specific individual.

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I have not seen any rules about undermining safe sport beyond not following the law. Saying Safe Sport being used as a weapon has been an argument since it came into law.

There is a provision that sanctions people for using it as a weapon.

People publicly try to undermine laws all the time. Provided there is no actual action, there is not much one can do beyond ignoring them.

I am still blown away at the push back over training and people getting set down for their bad behavior. Then again people on the various threads have said they will still ride with those banned for molesting children.

What’s more appalling is the anti-safe sport crowd has aligned themselves with people banned from the USEF by Safe Sport because they were convicted in a court of law.


I don’t think you can censor what anyone has to say about a particular program. It’s freedom of speech. As a result, I don’t think you are going to find any literature on this within SafeSport. That being said, I think it is important to understand the type of person that posts information like this in an effort to increase fearmongering. One can only hope they eventually crawl back into their hole and accept that sexual abuse does happen in the equine industry.


I think the “I stand with George” movement is totally gross, but I certainly hope there isn’t a penalty for voicing disagreement with SafeSport policies in general terms… especially since SafeSport is a governmental program. Freedom of speech and all that.


People lobbying against laws being a totally legal, and widespread practice is a good point. As is the point about censorship.

Specifically though, aren’t folks in the midst of an investigation (accusers, the accused, and potential witnesses) all prohibited from speaking about it while the investigation is ongoing?

Bonnie Navin was the source of the quote I posted. She has offered legal advice and support to people who have been the subject of Safe Sport accusations in the past. Apparently on a pro-bono basis. I’m not sure about the formality of her relationships to multiple cases, or what her professional or ethical obligations are in situations where she is supporting someone on a pro bono basis, and perhaps not even bound by a formal agreement as their primary legal representative.

Bottom line though, if she posted this because she actually presently KNOWS of an individual that is currently the subject of a Safe Sport report… how does she KNOW the details of the allegations and that they are false? If she is in the midst of an ongoing investigation, isn’t she supposed to refrain from talking about it publicly?

Is she’s not… aren’t the people in the midst of it not supposed to be speaking to her about it?

She is an officer of the court though, and has professional and ethical codes of conduct that she is required to abide by, above and beyond Safe Sport. If there truly is a complaint against a current USEF member who is an Olympic hopeful that is in the process of being investigated, and folks are being privately questioned about what they do and do t k ow with respect to the matter… a matter that potentially does involve the sexual abuse or exploitation of a minor, or someone over whom the accused held considerable power (maybe an employee) it seems like it’s pretty darn inappropriate for an officer of the court to publicly state to a broad pool of potential witnesses investigators may or may not be in the process of questioning

“unless you have real facts, you better shut up.”


I honestly think she’s just out to stir the pot and alludes to knowing more than she actually does.

[edit] I do not think she’s dumb enough to cross a line that would bring her in front of an ethics committee for the Florida Bar Association.

Her association with convicted pedophiles and child molesters should be enough for most to discredit her. Remember, no one cared about banning these people until big names in our industry got in the hot seat.


Honestly the quote you cited first is so general and second hand that I can’t see it violating any lawyer client privilege.

If you think that a lawyer is behaving in appropriately the place to complain is to their bar association which does have teeth.

I agree that the quote is surprisingly unprofessional in tone for a lawyer.

I’m not insinuating she’s violating lawyer client privilege. But if she is actually representing someone currently being investigated… isn’t she violating Safe Sport’s rules about not speaking about ongoing investigations?

And yeah… I do think it’s a SHOCKINGLY unprofessional way for an attorney to speak publicly. IANAL … however… have worked with many during my professional career, and count three in my immediate family, one of whom does a lot of courtroom litigation…

Publicly telling a pool of potential witnesses related to an ongoing investigation to “shut up” unless they have “real facts” is out of bounds. Telling the same pool of potential witnesses to “watch their backs”… also way out of bounds.

@TheMoo - I agree with you on almost all points… except for the part about her not being dumb enough to do something that would bring her in front of the ethics committee of the Florida Bar Association. :cool:


I think her quote is so vague that it doesn’t apply to any existing case, as she is talking about prospective or future cases and it is third hand. It is worded very unprofessionally but if it were worded more professionally it could be more like a general reminder there are flaws in a law or process.

Ms. Navin has a long and colorful history of public statements to the press and via social media, as well as what you can read in various public court documents, on a variety of cases related to USEF that IMHO paint a pretty strong picture.


The extent of my legal knowledge is basically watching a few seasons of Law & Order: SVU, but I agree that it’s probably vague enough to not count as speaking about an ongoing investigation.

Very unprofessional, though, and I love how she starts with “I’ve heard that xxxxx” and then follows it up with “don’t spread rumors.” Hey pot, meet kettle.


I do wish her and others would just start their own circuit already.


I just asked an attorney I know in real life what their opinion is of this…

”She’s an ambulance chaser who occasionally represents accused Safe Sport violators? Oh. That’s just her way of fishing for clients. She’s a bottom feeder.”


This is something I’ve always wondered. Did BN ever ride? Does she still ride? What is her connection to the USEF? Nothing I can find even mentions horses. How did she get involved with all this?


According to what little is out there, she claims to have ridden in her youth and owns a farm in FL, so she has been involved in litigation tied to the horse business. If you look at her cases and statements, it’s clear that she has been climbing the social ladder by attaching herself to cases and anyone/anything of prominence, whenever an opportunity arises. For obvious reasons, she lives and works near the well-heeled folk that make the FL shows big name and big money, so it’s not surprising that she’s become a known name in ten years or so.

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The pushback over Safe Sport is astounding to me. Sadly, it is driven by people like BN who truly is a [ ].

Anyone can look back through all of my posts on this forum and see that it is not my style to use such labels and I do not do so lightly. It is one thing to defend child molesters. In our country everyone has the right to legal counsel, and someone needs to do that job. It is perfectly honorable to provide legal counsel and defense to even the most heinous of criminals because it is a necessary part of how our system works.

What I have a problem with is the use of social media and websites to discredit and undermine Safe Sport through carefully worded inflammatory misinformation intended to mislead the public. Safe Sport was created because youth sports in our country have long been a rich hunting ground for sexual predators. For years, sexual predators have been able to prey on children in plain sight in youth sports organizations. Relying on our criminal justice system has been completely ineffective in protecting children from abuse.

NOT ONCE have I seen one of these “we need to reform Safe Sport” folks put forward a SPECIFIC, REALISTIC suggestion that includes references to how Safe Sport actually works or it’s actual policies.

Here’s a link to current Safe Sport policy. Read the policy. What exactly would you change and how? No, the hearings can’t be made public to satisfy everyone’s salacious curiosity. No, the names of victims cannot be released to the public so that they can be harassed and intimidated. Yes, the process allows for multiple hearings with ample opportunity to present evidence and testimony. And finally, YES, there is outside oversight as the final binding arbitration is conducted by an INDEPENDENT arbitrator.…yperlinked.pdf


Navin rode as a kid with Larry and Trudy Glefke. She was the kid with no money, medium talent and ( please don’t call me a body shamer) the wrong body type. Her recollection of those years is starkly different from what I saw as a contemporary. Navin busted her butt for crumbs from the table and I always admired her work
ethic. During the Humble/ Mandarino debacle I spoke well of her as a potential representative for the family which leased poor Humble. I considered her a friend.

I’m sad, actually, that Navin has chosen to use her “talents” to represent the Dark Side. I guess she is finally in with the group who wouldn’t give her a glance then. Sad, a child abused in subtle ways by this industry…


That is so sad.


I believe last year she introduced a rule change requiring that every horse jog prior to a class or something… maybe someone else can pipe in to confirm.

I agree it is against SafeSport policy to talk about a case/ongoing investigation. However, as a lawyer, she is allowed to obtain evidence to defend her client. So, people other than the accused will know who the reporting Party is.

Not shocking to me how unprofessional this is. This would not be considered an ethics violation. It needs to be clear and convincing evidence of a violation.

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