It's not really "spanking", of course: that gives the impression of something much less serious, some kind of sex game. What we are actually talking about is violent sexual assault
Curtis spanked the other [woman] on her naked genitals, while she was completely undressed, to "cure her frigid spirit"which is why Howard Curtis, former leader of Coulsdon Chess Fellowship and former Director of Management Services at the British Chess Federation, has been jailed for six years.
So what next?
There's a choice, I think, between the following courses of action:
- deciding that because chess wasn't mentioned in court and only Howard Curtis was in the dock, the matter is settled and no further action need be taken
- recognising that Howard Curtis wasn't just an isolated individual but the leader of a religious cult built in his image, and asking why that religious cult should continue to be involved in chess.
I wrote pretty much all I wanted to on the subject after Curtis was convicted last month. Quoting yourself is not always a good habit, but in this particular instance I'd like to reiterate this.
given the nature of the religious organisation, the cult, that Howard Curtis headed, given that the nature of that organisation facilitated his abuse, there is plainly an obligation on that organisation to demonstrate that it is fit to work with the public, and an obligation on chess bodies to demonstrate that they are satisfied that CCF is a fit organisation to work with. This is an organisation which, at the very least (the alternatives are worse) failed to notice over a period of years that its leader was abusing women and physically assaulting children.This can't be satisfactory, unless we wish to pursue the nothing-to-do-with-us option. And that's not an option that should be pursued, not unless you're really sure that nothing else happened that is still to come out, that nothing like this could happen with CCF in the future, and that nobody at CCF knew in any way that these sexual assaults and acts of child cruelty had taken place.
But what did they know, at CCF? What did the people at Howard Curtis's religious cult know about the assaults he committed? So far, they won't say.
They should be asked again.
Let me suggest, again, roughly what I suggested last month, but with a couple of specifics.
First, the SCCA (or may be even the ECF) should issue a statement, expressing satisfaction at the verdict and inviting anybody affected by Howard Curtis's activities to come forward.1
Second, the same body should write to CCF, or invite them to send a representative for a hearing, in order to ask the following questions:
- Did anybody at CCF know about Howard Curtis's activities?
- Did anybody at CCF receive any complaints about Howard Curtis's activities and fail to act upon them?
- Did anybody at CCF in any way observe or participate in Howard Curtis's activities?
There's no reason whatsoever why these questions should not be asked. And all kinds of very good reasons for asking them.
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[1Why do this? Because victims don't always have the confidence to come forward unless they're specifically invited to do so.]
The disturbing story of Howard Curtis
A correspondence with CCF
A Surrey state of affairs