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."
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.
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.