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2018 With several Magic judges being exposed as convicted sex offenders, Magic Judges association plays victim in their first public statement regarding the pedophile scandal. Magic The Gathering Judge Association Plays Victim In Pedophile Scandal Magic The Gathering Judge Association Plays Victim In Pedophile Scandal
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Magic The Gathering Judge Association Plays Victim In Pedophile Scandal

#MagicGate

Christopher M
Published
01.10.2018
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Over the past few weeks many high level Magic judges have been found to be convicted of pedophilia and other sex crimes. With some continuing to judge events with children for years after being convicted in a court of law. All of this coming out due to the #MagicGate incident, with content creator Jeremy Hambly at the forefront exposing the convicted judges.

Yesterday the official Magic Judge association released their first statement regarding the pedophile scandal. Stating that the current movement for mandatory background checks and finding convicted pedophiles still among the current judges are attacks an "attempt to embarrass Wizards of the Coast, to incite panic and to create controversy."


Dear judge community,

Recently the Judge Program has come under attack on social media for having past members convicted of pedophilia and other sex crimes. The Judge Program, its leaders, and its members condemn sexual assault in all forms. The Judge Conduct Committee (JCC) reviews all cases brought to it, acts on the information it is provided, and removes offenders from our organization.

If you know of a past situation that you believe the Judge Program is unaware of, please contact the JCC through the Judge Feedback Form at feedback.magicjudges.org and we will respond to the matter with both the seriousness and the urgency it deserves.

However, we want to remind everyone that the Judge Program is not the police. Any individuals suspected of such actions should be reported first and foremost to the proper authorities.

The recent attacks on social media were an attempt to paint current members of the Judge Program as criminals in an attempt to embarrass Wizards of the Coast, to incite panic and to create controversy. The former judges named in public as pedophiles were all decertified as soon as the Program learned about their crimes. Some of them were no longer active judges when this happened.

These attacks also included the unauthorized publication of the name, city and DCI number of over 1600 judges currently listed as Level 2 and Level 3. This file was published along with a call to investigate into the personal lives of everyone on the list to find any criminals. That file has already been reported and removed, but, obviously, some copies of it may exist on private devices.

The Program Coordinators, together with the other leaders of the judge program, are looking into this issue and we would like to share some thoughts with you:

-We condemn the publication of this information. We find it extremely inappropriate and we understand many may feel that their privacy has been violated.

-The only information that was taken was in the spreadsheet that was already published. We have seen some judges express concern about email addresses and passwords. The user who leaked this information only copied it from the judge list; nothing else was compromised. The leak was not the result of unauthorized database access, but rather a violation of the social standards around using information on the judge list.

-In your profile on JudgeApps, you can set your location to 'Hidden'. Before doing this, remember that we allow our location to be searchable within JudgeApps so that TOs and other Judges can find us. Additionally, your email address is not displayed. Changing it to an invalid address only means you will no longer receive notifications from Program Coordinators, Regional Coordiantors, or other important announcements.

-If you are concerned that your DCI number might be used for tournament fraud, please review your planeswalker points page to check the tournaments there match what you actually played. If it doesn't, report it at wizards.custhelp.com.

-If you want to check the tournaments you have been entered as a judge, you can get that information at +1 (800)324 6496 or wizards.custhelp.com

-Finally, let's keep perspective. The main priority of the Judge Community must be keeping a qualified and trustworthy group of people as certified judges. Some individuals, due to past crimes or legal regulations, are not suitable to be judges. The program has systems to deal with those situations. If you know about any of those cases, please report it https://feedback.magicjudges.org, as all of us should collaborate to guarantee that all certified judges are respectable and able to contribute to a better gaming environment.

Judges who support and foster a welcoming and safe environment must feel protected from harassment and unfair treatment. The judge program must provide a safe environment for the judges, too. Judges are expected to behave at a higher standard and the judge program must be able to count on members with high level of integrity.

Yours, the Program Coordinators.


However much of what is said in the statement has been proven to be untrue from recent finding from within the Magic community. Independent journalist Lou Colagiovanni reported that Ross Prajzner, a level 3 judge, continued to judge at Magic events while being prosecuted and after being convicted for distributing child pornography on November 24, 2014. Juggling court and jail time with tournaments and other Magic events.

Colagiovanni also reported that Ross Prajzner attended the NYSE Open V 2017 event where he crossed paths with former tournament host Travis LaPlante. Who contacted the tournament's organizer and the Magic Judge association days after about Prajzner being a convicted sex offender. Full Prajzner report from Colagiovanni.

Wizards of The Coast, creators of Magic: The Gathering with Hasbro being their parent company, claims to have a zero-tolerance policy for sex offenders with their Vice President of Global Brand Strategy & Marketing publicly stating, "Safety at Magic events is our top priority. We have a zero-tolerance policy for sex offenders. Our standard and long-standing practice is to suspend offenders from the DCI and/or remove stores from the WPN."



Prajzner did not receive a DCI ban from Wizards until January 8th of this year, meaning he was still eligible to play in and judge official Magic tournaments. Wizards and several judges had this information but didn't ban Prajzner until the information became wide spread throughout the Magic community. Background checks are not required for judges or DCI numbers so Prajzer could still play at or judge official sanctioned Magic events under a different name. Prajzer did alter his name during the NYSE Open V 2017 event.

Now Prajzner isn't the only exposed convicted sex offender to be a former or current active Magic Judge. As 9 judges have currently been found with more being vetted for accuracy. With most of them having a story similar to Prajzner, where Wizards and Magic Judges didn't ban them until they were exposed to the community. Hambly goes over a list of them in his video "Magic: The Sickening" with an updated account of them on his Twitter accounts @UnsleevedMedia & @TheQuartering.

Currently Wizards of the Coast, Hasbro, Magic Judges and Channel Fireball (the largest organizer of official Magic events) do not require any background checks in regards to judges or other volunteer staff that could be in contact with minors.

Update (1.14.2018)
Wizards of the Coast have updated their policies to now required background checks for judges and other event staff. Read more here: Wizards Mandate Required Background Checks For Magic Judges, Judges In Strong Opposition.


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