by Irvin Muchnick
As we resume our examination of the U.S. Speedskating (USS) eggshell walk on the legacy of legendary skater (and former organization president) Andy Gabel, it is important, as always, to parse inapt rhetorical distinctions and speak in plain English.
Skater Bridie Farrell has alleged, without real refutation, that Gabel molested her at age 15. So does skater Nikki Ziegelmeyer, in near carbon-copy detail. (See the definitive article in Marie Claire magazine, http://www.marieclaire.com/politics/news/a8481/skating-for-justice/.)
USS won’t act on the request of complainants to kick Gabel out of the Hall of Fame and ban him from future membership following his voluntary resignation “for the good of the sport.”
Gabel told the Chicago Tribune, “Looking back on it now, I understand that my conduct nearly 20 years ago, and longer, was still inappropriate. I’ve apologized publicly for that, and I am sorry for crossing that line.”
He also has said he “displayed poor judgment in a brief and inappropriate relationship with a female teammate.”
Regarding Ziegelmeyer – whose accusation upped the ante from “a” female teammate, Gabel told the Associated Press, “I never forced myself on any individual, and any allegations of that nature are absolutely false. Any relationship I had was consensual.”
But the purpose of statutory rape law is the concept that sex between an adult male and a 15-year-old young woman is, by definition, not consensual.
Published December 1st, 2014
Published December 2nd, 2014