Alen Hadzic of New Jersey is a replacement for the United States fencing team, but was not allowed to stay in the Olympic Village.
Alen Hadzic, 29, from New Jersey, is a substitute for the men's sword with the United States Olympic fencing team.n resolved, he was kept away from his teammates in Tokyo.
He had to fly separately, his lawyer said, did not been allowed to stay in the Olympic Village and must train and reside in a secluded hotel. This precaution was taken for the safety and well-being of other U.S. shooters who have expressed concerns about Hadzic's presence and a desire to minimize distractions, according to USA Fencing.
The case reflects the complicated, awkward and at times acrimonious efforts of the US Olympic movement to judiciously deal with sexual abuse complaints three years after Lawrence G. Nassar , who was a medic for the US women's gymnastics team, was primarily condasentenced to life in prison for committing multiple sex crimes.
Hadzic faces charges of sexual misconduct by three women in 2013 incidents at 2015. At least two of the women were fencers who knew Hadzic during their career at Columbia University.
He was temporarily suspended from all fencing activity visits on June 2 by the US Center for SafeSport. The non-profit organization was established as an independent agency in 2017 to protect Olympic sports athletes from sexual, emotional and physical abuse. His chances of competing in the Tokyo Games appeared to have been exhausted.
But Hadzic appealed and his suspension was overturned by areferee on June 29, restoring his Olympic eligibility. . The referee left a directive in place for Hadzic not to contact his accusers, but ruled his suspension was "inappropriate to the allegations " and ruled that his participation in the Olympic team would not be " damage the reputation of the United States or his sport. "
He will compete in Tokyo as a substitute in the individual or team epee competition if a teammate is injured or becomes ill.
Referring to the sexual misconduct charges, Hadzic told USA Today , who first reported the details of the case on Wednesday, "They " are just not true. "
Florida-based Hadzic attorney Michael Palma saide in an interview he would argue at an arbitration hearing Thursday to end what he called a UN based segregation imposed on his client in Tokyo. He said USA Fencing was trying to hide Hadzic to avoid a negative and prevent him "from participating in the Olympic experience he rightly deserved ".
After narrowly missing a spot on the US fencing team for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Hadzic qualified for the Tokyo Games on May 7. He smiled and a thumbs up while being photographed for the U.S.A. Fencing Instagram page. Soon, however, charges of sexual misconduct surfaced on the page and elsewhere on social media, accusing him of being a predator and a rapist.
Palma, his lawyer, said that Hadzic had never committed sexual assault and had never been charged with rape or plcivil or criminal offense for sexual abuse. Hadzic was suspended from Columbia for the year 2013-14 after a Title IX investigation involving sexual consent, Palma said. He called the proceedings a "kangaroo court " in which Hadzic was not allowed to call witnesses or present statements of character. Tokyo Olympics›
If Hadzic and his accusers in the current case can s 'hearing about anything, this is what their lawyers call the flaws in the SafeSport procedural system.
Although SafeSport has imposed penalties temporary or permanent against about 1,500 people in sports Olympics , and its investigative capacity has grown dramatically, it has been criticized over the years for its lack of funding, staff, transparency and independence from the Olympic and United States P. Alympic Committee.
"The system is down," Palma said.
Charges Misconduct, while subject to rebuttal, is initially viewed by SafeSport as a way to protect those who might be its victims. This puts the defendant at a disadvantage, Palma said, noting that Hadzic had been temporarily suspended without notice and without an opportunity to defend himself. As can happen in such cases, Palma said, the case was tried on social media before Hadzic had a chance to overturn his s.uspension.
United States. Fencing had known about the charges against Hadzic for years, Palma said, but never placed any restrictions on him until he made the Olympic team. U.S.A. Fencing declined to comment. If Hadzic's accusers were so concerned with his behavior, Palma said, why didn't they go to SafeSport years ago instead of waiting for him to qualify for the Tokyo Games?
"The allegations are serious " said Palma. "The point is, they are not true.
The accusers of Hadzic, meanwhile, believe he is being given unfairly a chance to potentially compete and represent his country in the world's premier fencing showcase.
"I am thinking of the possibility that this man accused of Sexual assault by three feMs, credible in the eyes of investigators, sits atop the Olympic podium, wrapped in an American flag, "said Jack Wiener, attorney for one of Hadzic's accusers and assistant professor at the Brooklyn Law School. "And I ask: how can this happen in 2021? Haven't we learned anything in recent years? "
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Neither Wiener nor his client were allowed to participate in the arbitration hearing which resulted in the suspension being canceled of Hadzic. "It 's shocking to me, " Wiener said. Such exclusion, he said, was "incompatibleble with all the modern courts I know of in the United States "
SafeSport has stated that the arbitration hearing was not meant to be an evidentiary procedure or to rule on the merits of the case, only to examine the information used to pronounce the temporary suspension. Cases can last for months or years and can lead to a range of outcomes from exemption and suspension to a permanent ban from participating in sport.
" Interim arbitration hearings the measures have no impact on whether or not an investigation proceeds, "said Dan Hill, a spokesperson for SafeSport.
Wiener's customer said Hadzic grabbed her buttocks in 2015 and pushed her against a dresser one night when she resisted his advances in a bar so that she was a student at Columbia. The woman said qThe incident happened at Hadzic's apartment in Hoboken, New Jersey, where she had gone as a protector of a friend she didn't want to leave alone.
The June arbitration hearing, Wiener said, took place before the full testimony of at least one of Hadzic's accusers has not been collected by SafeSport. As of Wednesday evening, he added, he still had not received a copy of the referee's decision or an explanation. An update from SafeSport on why Hadzic's temporary suspension was canceled.
"The SafeSport system is rigged " Wiener said. "This leans overwhelmingly against victims of sexual assault.
It is not uncommon for both parties to be frustrated with the procedures. SafeSport, Hill said. But, even with its flaws, the agency 's protections againstThe abuses appear to be superior to the ineffective system previously applied by the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and national sports federations. The cover-ups, most shockingly revealed in Nassar's abuse of gymnasts, were so widespread that US Olympic officials were accused of placing medals above morality. critics are the loudest, ”Hill said. "But there must be a lot of people who are thankful that they finally had a place to go that they could trust and that something was done.