On Brett Sutton
From Richard Eustace
(9/1/00)

I agree with most things Dan says, but I can't go past this comment:

>>The girl with whom Sutton liased—15 at the time—is now
>>almost twice that age, married,
>>and is more or less on Sutton's side.

"...is now almost twice that age, " So what?? A crime is a crime. "...married,"? So that makes it OK to indecently assualt a girl who subsequently gets married?? "...and is more or less on Sutton's side." This I fnd very very difficult to believe. If she realy was "over it", why did she, after 15 years, as you point out, bring the matter to court?? Do you know why? Have you spoken to her?? According to my information, which isn't first hand either, she is now in the Olympics at Sydney, in another sport, but doesn't want Sutton around to distract her.

Inside Sport had an article on Sutton a year or so ago. This story, if I recall correctly, is (mostly) the source of the above information.

Time should never be an excuse for getting away with a crime.

Cheers, Richard

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From Shane Hooks (9/1/00)

Firstly, can I say it is a pleasure to finally get to "talk" to you. You're a good man and have done the sport proud over the years. On one point I would like to offer my 10 cents worth. The man is Brent Sutton.

I don't know whether it is the fact that I am a father of a beautiful 13 year-old daughter. I don't know why I feel so strongly about this issue but feel, that once a lot of words are spoken and written we kind of lose sight of the real issue. Quite frankly, the real issue is quite horrible.

Please Dan, don't take me for a bleeding heart liberal or born again Christian waiting for the opportunity to get a good preach going. I'm not. But there is a part of me that says society, and am not talking about the police here must look after and protect those that can't be look after. Teenage girls must be cared for. Hell, they have enough to deal with as it is without having to worry about being prayed upon by filthy old men with vile habits.

Again, back to the real issue and the only issue. His admission means there can be no mitigating circumstances. Nada. Down our way in the prisons of New Zealand, men like Sutton are labelled. The label is "KF". Kid Fucker. Suits me just fine. He had a free choice not to fuck that child. Now, he must live with his consequences. For me, that consequence means he should head off and crawl under a rock to where he belongs. It is my job I feel as a father to make sure that our standards of protection of our young are never ever compromised. There is one and only one standard. You fuck a child, you pay with your credibility for the rest of your life.

It has to be this way because these people, once sniffed out head off and go looking elsewhere, where there a reputation does not precede them.

Also, it's a funny thing about society that all you have to do is tender some form of defence, any excuse will do and all of the Sutton we focus on the excuse and not the issue. I read of some where in the United States some black man being shot 47 times on the doorsteps of his house. The issue is that he was shot 47 times. 47 times. Not that he was reaching into his pocket or whatever. With Sutton, the issue is simple he fucked a child and got caught.

The cynic in me also says, she wouldn't have been the one and only and she won't be the last. You don't have to be a rock scientist to work out that if you have a predilection for under age girls, you must mix with them. It's kind of like 30 something mates of mine (yes, I do have a few!) who complain about not being able to meet woman. These guys work only with men, play with men, drink with men, socialise with men. It's a simple fact, you can't meet a woman if you don't see any. Likewise, you don't get to see under age girls unless you mix with them. Sadly, for sports that require coaching of under age girls, we must be so careful. Period.

Guys like Sutton have incredible abilities to make everyone feel that he is safe. He betrays everybody around him. He has to, paedophiles that walk around with T-shirts saying "I love 14 year-old girls" would tend to attract attention. Paedophiles must operate in very public places. They need to be very confident men.

Also, it is a question of opportunity. No girl should ever be alone with any man connected to their sport alone. That is such a sad statement and for the majority of good men out their coaching for the love of their sport and not the love of their loins must be careful. It is my job, probably because I am a father of a teenage daughter to question unnatural attention older men can sometimes give.

Remorse. Hmmmm. We have another saying down here. Talks cheap and money buys beer. I bet you Sutton understands this saying perfectly. KF's can eat shit and die. Heaven help any paedophile that comes near my daughter. If that girl was my daughter and Sutton was that man. I would happily do time to sort things out in the good old fashioned way. He is worse than a rapist. A rapist doesn't work on getting your confidence before violating you. He is far worse than a rapist. He is justifiably a convicted paedophile.

Never forget the fact he is a convicted paedophile.

I won't.

Kind regards (I do mean this)

Shane Hooks.

P.S. I make no apologies for the language used above. He did not make love to that child. He fucked her and that makes him a paedophile and a rapist. Let's call it what it is. Euphemisms are such powerful tools in hiding the work of evil men. Ethnic cleansing. What on earth is that?

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From Brett Sutton (9/5/00)

I thought that I could answer a couple of your questions. I don’t want to use you, or other media outlets, as a personal forum. I prefer to keep a low profile, always have. If I'm asked a question, I try to answer it honestly. Our sport is filled with some very educated, but stupid, people that have not earned their positions -- coaching or administrative -- through achieving results. I therefore have never suffered from feeling inadequate if my answer is contrary to everybody else’s.

I know I have little education, and I struggle not to look foolish. I stick to the facts when I talk, and the truth sometimes hurts. You are correct, I carry remorse over the incident. The price most people think I paid is nothing compared to how I really paid every day since. The court case only slightly lessened the load. But people still relied on me, even afterward, so I moved on, and hopefully forward. That was all I could do. But am I sorry? Few know how sorry.

As to your first question, the police questioned every -- and I mean every -- junior female I had any contact with in triathlon, as did Triathlon Australia. They failed to make public that after the most thorough search not one other individual could be found. The reason is because there wasn't one. I prey on no one, now or in the past. I do pray that people understand and believe this.

As to my persona-non-grata status, that is an ITU decision. However, I can attend any World Cup the public is able to attend. The law says so. I have never been evicted from an event. If there is a seat available right next to Les, I may sit there. But I am choosy with whom I sit.

People in this sport must realize that Les is only still there because confrontation is his particular talent. Take that away and he is impotent. His political instincts in getting triathlon to the games were immense, and to be commended, however that is where his ideas stop. He is going to the Games as head of an organization. It could have been ping pong for all he cares. Whether getting to the Games was good or not is another debate, and one I would happily partake in, but one thing is for sure: Triathlon needs direction, and fast. This sport was heading in the right direction in 87, and 13-years later we have the Olympics, and a new band of supporters: the 187 or so federation bureaucrats dedicated to feathering their own nests.

As to your last question of whether the sport has the right to make me pay ad infinitum, the bigger issue concerns those who choose to work with me. The sport does not have the right, either morally or legally, to persecute athletes who have done nothing wrong. Consider Loretta Harrop, who has known me since she was 12-years-old. Because of her loyalty to me she is still not afforded the title of undisputed best in the world, as she has been since my problem -- yes MY problem – became known. Results prove her ability conclusively but she still endures reading about how any number of other athletes are presumed the better than she -- none of them in her class. Andrew John's struggle is just the sort of story that built this sport into what it is. Beyond that, he is the best human being alive. But who will know of it? Why should he carry the stain? Who could dislike Siri Lindley -- one of nature’s kindest -- or begrudge her success? But Less threw her winning flowers at her – along with some obscenities -- at the very moment for which she had dreamed for only God knows how long. Then there is Jo King, who no longer trains with me. This girl’s story of self-improvement is unbelievable. She was 3-minutes behind the last out of the water in Cancun, 1995, and they tried to stop her continuing the following year’s World Cup circuit. In 1998 she was out of the water with first pack and won the world championship. Totally incredible, but also largely ignored. Why? Because of me. That is unfair.

For me personally, I understand people's right to hold me in contempt. There were plenty of people happy to see me fall, not so much because of what I did, but because of their own inadequacies as coaches or administrators. That's okay too. But they didn’t consider how something I had done so many years ago would effect the professional careers of those who trusted me. The administrators were happy to sacrifice the only careers these athletes had, because athletes are just numbers to them. One goes. So what? Another twenty can take his place. That was – and is -- the saddest thing. I still survive against "the sanction" for one reason only: I do my job the best I can, and the athletes judge me the only way anyone can. I am happy to stand or fall by their critiques and judgments. If you want to know who and what I am, ask them.

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From the editor (9/7/00)

Great letters above on a very difficult issue, and I thank everyone who's written. I don't know the answer, and I don't have any suggestions. As was the case when I wrote the OpEd piece that started it all, I think Brett Sutton should be talked about -- both the issue of Sutton, and of those who train under him. Many, especially fathers, have a guttural, instinctive response and, no doubt, might espouse a guttural, instinctive punishment (like cutting off something). The problem is (it seems to me) we can't apply pre-civilized notions of punishment or retribution to this issue just because it is emotionally charged.

But that doesn't bring me any closer to offering a resolution. I include Sutton's letter to demonstrate a layer to this that some of us know about, but that others don't -- that it isn't only Sutton who has been blackballed, but everyone who associates with him. Perhaps that muddies the issue. Perhaps it doesn't.

I haven't read a bad letter on this. I respect everyone's opinion that has written. They're all well reasoned. They're all understandable. But they are not all compatible with each other, and I don't know how to reconcile them. I would be comfortable letting irreconcilable views hang out there, open-ended, except that people continue to be hurt by this (most recently Siri Lindley, from the eyewitness reports I've come across). Hence my peeling a layer back from our otherwise happy sport. I'm happy to publish additional views on this, if others care to write.