Tony Desilva Sexual Predator And The People To Blame

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Tony Desilva Sexual Predator And The People To Blame November 20, 2012 9:41 AM

Normally, the arrest of Tony Desilva and the details of such deplorable behavior are not things that we at TJHN like to publish. Not because we dont want to comment, but because the victims right to privacy is one that should be paramount in situations such as this. That said, we have had an overwhelming amount of information sent to us, and comments made that now require a report.

To be sure Tony Desilva, is under arrest and should remain incarcerated for a very long time for his attempted sexual assaults of two 16 yr old boys in Florida if found guilty. A predator such as this, more often times than not has many more victims that remain unknown to authorities until they are caught. Those alleged victims are in some cases talking now.

Much is being made of claims and information being provided by Alex Rivers, a former player for Desilva. David Rivers, Alex’s father provided an email to another publication dated in January of 2011. This email was very descriptive and would be a smoking gun in any child sex abuse case. Text messages, descriptions of activity and these items apparently co-oberated by other available witnesses. Very damning indeed.

This email was sent to some in USA Hockey, and somehow the ESHL was given the responsibility to look into things. The problem with this is very simple; USAH and the ESHL are not law enforcement bodies capable of making any legal determinations. Not only are they not capable, but they are not authorized under any legal body to conduct such investigations.

The main difference between the Alex Rivers situation and the allegations in Florida against Desilva? Alex Rivers was an adult, aged 18 when the email was sent to USA Hockey by his father David Rivers. Alex Rivers could have simply and easily gone to the police department and turned over the information and they could have done their job. In turn, USAH could have done their job and suspended Desilva after the report to authorities had been filed.

Unfortunately, this may have only kept Desilva from coaching, but it is unlikely that it would have prevented him from getting on line with the intent to sexually assault children in Florida.

Understanding how the law works in cases such as this is critical to placing fault at any persons feet.

USA Hockey not only does not have the ability, but they do not have the authority to act under the law. USA Hockey is not the alleged "victim", only the victim in a case such as the Desilva – Rivers situation presents is able to press charges or file a legal complaint when the victim is 18 years of age or older.

USA Hockey does not have the ability to search any persons home, they can not issue subpoenas requiring testimony. All USA Hockey could do was talking to Desilva and ask him if the allegations were true. all they could do was ask players over 18 to go to authorities and file a report. They could not legally even inquire with players that are under 18 years old without permission, and to gain that permission parents would need to complain to USAH. Without that parental complaint USAH could not contact the parents of under age players if they had no proof presented to make an accusation.

If a victim is under 18, anyone aware of or discovering such activity can call the proper authorities. At that point it is up to the prosecutor in how to proceed.

It is easy to point the finger at USA Hockey and the ESHL. They looked into it when they were provided the email. Legally there was not much else they could do. Could they have tried to manipulate the authorities? Possibly, but they also could have opened themselves up to massive invasion of privacy and harassment claims from Desilva, such claims could have been coupled to any criminal case and could have destroyed any attempted prosecution.

The question are; why didnt the Rivers family go to the police? Just making a report would have gotten Desilva out of hockey? Why didnt any of the other parents and players that were aware of this behavior go to the police?

Are people trying to say that they were so afraid of how reporting this type of behavior would reflect on them and effect their hockey careers, that they chose to stay uninvolved?

Then those people need to look deep within themselves to see what is more important to them. Hockey advancement or the safety and security of those team mates and families they say they care about.

We certainly cant blame the police for failing to act, they never received a report. USA Hockey spokesman Dave Fischer has stated that the ESHL and its officials were unable to uncover sufficient evidence to support claims in regard to DeSilva as it concerns Rivers

Fischer has informed other media outlets that USA Hockey officials launched an investigation within days of receiving the January 2011 email. That investigation was apparently closed in March of 2011. A three month investigation? For a group with no authority to make an arrest or prosecute, that is pretty lengthy. For a group working without the authority to request search warrants and obtain information other than what is volunteered to them should be seen as fairly extensive.

What if someone would have uncovered incriminating evidence in 2011? What if that evidence was later turned over to the proper authorities, and that evidence was used to arrest and prosecute Desilva. What if, that same evidence was thrown out of court because it was obtained illegal by a person or party not authorized by law enforcement and Desilva goes free?

Desilva is in jail. He is suspended from coaching and labeled a child sexual predator. Should it have happened sooner? Could it have happened sooner? The answer will not be known now, and people can speculate as to what others could have or should have done. The bottom line is a simple one though, under Massachusetts law, the victim of assault or harassment must file the report if they are of legal age.

Passing the buck after any crisis is easy, accepting responsibility for actions is sometimes not easy, accepting responsibility for inaction in these types of situations is not something anyone wants to do. In this case, passing the buck to USA Hockey and the ESHL in not appropriate when there appears to be a multitude of people involved with this situation that could have gone to the police and filed a complaint.

The fact that people have been quoted talking about drinking issues, awareness of alleged mental health issues, and other suspicious activity by Desilva says a lot about how much was known.

The fact that people are saying that they did not report things to the police because he was a great hockey coach is the weakest of excuses possible.

The calls for the Amateur Athletic Union being the group that junior and youth teams should run to for protection have already begun. Those calls are coming from those that are not aware that former AAU President Robert W. "Bobby" Dodd has been accused of sexual abuse.

The allegations against Dodd surfaced when two accusers told sports network ESPN that Dodd, 63, had engaged in a pattern of inappropriate touching and sex acts while they stayed in hotels during tournaments and that he gave alcohol to underage players. The players making accusations against Dodd said they were abused between the ages of 12 and 16, ESPN reported.

The difference being in the ages of the athletes involved, allowed AAU, in fact obligated them to contact authorities about any information they may have. Those people being under the age of 18 at the time of the alleged acts is the critical difference between the two cases being discussed here.

The facts are simple, these bodies can only screen for predators prior to allowing them into an organization. They can only inform law enforcement of actions involving minor children. They can only conduct limited investigations internally and turn information over to authorities when it involves minor children. When a person reaches 18 years of age, if that person is abused or harassed, it is that persons responsibility to act.

If minor were involved in any of Desilvas alleged acts, then those parents of those minor children had a duty to report those actions to USA Hockey and law enforcement. If USA Hockey was aware that minor children were involved in those alleged acts, then they would have been required to file a report on behalf of the minor child if the parent did not make a report.

The case against Desilva in Florida alone supports these facts. He is accused of attempting to lure 16 year old boys into sexual acts. The officers posing as these minor children gathered evidence and charged as they felt appropriate. Had Desilva been soliciting 18 year olds, under the law there would be no case for prosecution.

The Desilva and Dodd situations are more than disturbing. Dodd is alleged to have been doing these disgusting acts for decades, Desilva may be found to be similarly engaged in this type of activity as the investigation continues.

The differences between the two sets of allegations relating to Dodd and Desilva are unfortunately very clear. The ages of the alleged victims and the ability of each governing body involved to act on any allegations. Blaming either body makes no sense, the blame can only rest on other peoples failure to act, and the laws in which allegations take place that limit any governing body to take action.

The bottom line here is that no governing body has the authority to do much in the way of investigating anything other than acts that victimize under age athletes. In that respect there is no evidence to suggest that USAH or AAU have ever acted in a way that would be considered improper, in fact the evidence would suggest that under the law USAH was limited in its ability to act.

The blame belongs to the limitations under the law to protect, and upon those who victimize children.

By Joseph Kolodziej

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