August 12, 2011

U.S. Skier Pees on Child's Leg During Flight: Robert "Sandy" Vietze, an 18-year-old skier in the U.S. Olympic development program, urinated on the leg of an 11-year-old girl during a red-eye flight from Portland to New York City Wednesday. "I was drunk, and I did not realize I was pissing on her leg," Vietze allegedly told police. The girl's father, returning from the restroom with another of his children, had to be physically separated from Vietze.

posted by rcade to Olympics at 11:56 AM - 29 comments

saw this article on another news service, but didn't realize it was an Olympic hopeful. From the other article, about an hour before landing someone (unrelated) started having chest pains and they had to find them a doctor. Must have been some eventful flight!

I realize the guy was drunk and it wasn't intentional, but that's the type of thing that may emotionally scar that girl for the rest of her life. Horrible.

posted by bdaddy at 12:12 PM on August 12

Unless he managed to keep his privates private, it's also likely a sex crime.

posted by rcade at 12:19 PM on August 12

How does this 18-year-old manage to get himself drunk in Oregon, where the legal drinking age is 21? It would appear that he either had help or falsified his ID. Either act could result in legal action against Vietze or his accomplice in obtaining the alcohol or both. The father of the girl, while trying to be protective of his daughter, should have let her talk to the police. Since it is next to impossible to urinate on someone while your penis is still inside your pants, he probably exposed himself. Thus, if the girl says she saw him so exposed, he's now a sex offender, and rightly or wrongly is branded for life.

No doubt there will be a civil suit here. While Vietze might not "have a pot to pee in" (as my mom used to say about folks with few resources), I'm sure that Jet Blue will be included, and will likely shell out with not much of a fight.

posted by Howard_T at 12:36 PM on August 12

saw this article on another news service, but didn't realize it was an Olympic hopeful.

"Olympic hopeful" is perhaps a bit of a stretch when talking about a D-team member. An analogous position in baseball would be an A-league player: he might make the big time some day, but he'd have to go up three more levels to do it. Not that he's likely to get a chance now; the US Ski Team is pretty puritanical and censures people for much less than this.

I realize the guy was drunk and it wasn't intentional, but that's the type of thing that may emotionally scar that girl for the rest of her life.

Well, it may -- there's no "should" where emotional scarring is concerned. But this sounds like borrowing trouble to me. It was startling and shocking and nasty, I'm sure, but unless this girl is exceptionally lucky, she'll experience worse in her life. A compassionate response would be to acknowledge the nastiness and that it shouldn't have happened, but to listen to her own authentic reaction rather than suggest to her what that should be. If she's able to simply shrug it off, that's great, so let her get past it rather than insist on her being deeply wounded.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:37 PM on August 12

Drunk drivers never intentionally intend to kill people yet they are still charged with murder and manslaughter. Being drunk is no excuse to piss on an 11 year old girl or anybody else for that matter. It is a good thing I did not catch him pissing on my daughter, he would have bigger problems than registering as a sex offender, or loosing his position on the ski team. In the article it says he hasn't apologized or expressed any remorse.

I have been pretty drunk, passed out, fell down, acted silly etc, but just how do you accidentally piss on an 11 year old girl while on an airplane. Anybody that is that drunk is pretty obvious and should have been removed from the plane prior to take off, or not allowed to board.

The part where the stage 4 cancer patient has to be physically removed from a 6 foot 4 inch, 195 lb elite athlete is testament to the fact that you don't mess with a mans daughter. He lucky they don't allow cutting tools on airplanes or he might have lost something very dear to him.

posted by Atheist at 02:22 PM on August 12

Always amazes me how stupidly drunk some assholes can get. Just pass out for god's sake.

posted by dyams at 03:13 PM on August 12

Wow, lots of questions to be answered, unfortunately, it looks like most of them will go unanswered as no charges are being brought forward.

It's illegal to serve minors alcohol, so someone ought to be held accountable for that. 8 drinks before taking off? Where are the coaches/parents/chaperones? I realize the kid is an adult, but it appears that someone should have been overseeing the punk.

The ski team has dropped him, so he will pay a price for his actions. As Howard mentioned, probably civil actions to come as well.

And, yeah, they'd would have had to separate me from that loser if he had pissed on any of my kids.

posted by dviking at 03:15 PM on August 12

In the article it says he hasn't apologized or expressed any remorse.

I think the Post is playing games on that point. If you read carefully, it just sounds like he refused to comment at all to their reporter.

posted by rcade at 03:52 PM on August 12

Uh, fuck y'all. This was the NY Post for god's sake, we can trust only that the guy was on the plane and not much more from this story, as you should be able to tell from the hyperbole. I also doubt he "refuses" to apologize from his giant mansion (if the Post story is to be believed).

One of the great failures of our modern world- and the coding in our tiny little simian brains- is this incessant, PURITANICAL need to find fault and blame in everything, and to prove one's self a tough guy macho King of the Realm. He was drunk, did something stupid, there's really not much more to it than that. He shouldn't be a convicted sex offender, it was a dumb mistake. Misdemeanor & fine + community service should be sufficient. The girl won't really care too much unless you tell her every day "Are you okay honey are you okay are you okay are you okay did the bad man hurt you are you okay are you okay?" and then she'll get a complex and/or milk this for all it's worth.

Also, dad may be a stage 4 cancer survivor, but he's also something of a punk with a latent Rambo complex, if he felt the need to try to beat a guy up over this. Typically internet tough guy in the flesh: "If that were MY daughter..." blah blah blah.

Also, how long did this peeing go on, if the dad was in the bathroom when it happened? Presumably he was not caught mid act, but more once he started people noticed (and he probably finished almost immediately) and let the dad know when he came back.

posted by hincandenza at 03:54 PM on August 12

"Olympic hopeful" is perhaps a bit of a stretch when talking about a D-team member.

Exactly. The sports connection here is tenuous at best and also typical NY Post sensationalism. It sells more papers to make this professional sports connection, I guess, and makes a better headline than "Drunken Asshole Pees On Kid."

posted by Joey Michaels at 04:17 PM on August 12

Though now that I've written that, "Drunken Asshole Pees On Kid" is a damn fine headline.

posted by Joey Michaels at 04:18 PM on August 12

Presumably he was not caught mid act, but more once he started people noticed (and he probably finished almost immediately) and let the dad know when he came back.

You have a hard time believing the Post's story, but have no problem filling in the details yourself.

Typically internet tough guy in the flesh: "If that were MY daughter..."

I don't have a daughter (or any kids, for that matter), but I don't think it's too much of a stretch to think a father might go a little crazy (and physical) if someone were to PEE ON HIS CHILD. People are VERY protective of their children for things far less disgusting and offensive.

And "internet tough guy" is someone who says he would do something tough, but only says so because he's behind a keyboard and anonymity. An "in the flesh" version wouldn't have done anything, which obviously isn't the case here.

By the way, it's not "Puritanical" to think that urinating on a child is more than "something stupid".

posted by grum@work at 04:42 PM on August 12

"Also, dad may be a stage 4 cancer survivor, but he's also something of a punk with a latent Rambo complex, if he felt the need to try to beat a guy up over this. Typically internet tough guy in the flesh: "If that were MY daughter..." blah blah blah. "

Are you really accusing the father of acting inappropriately? Having a Rambo complex? You must not have kids. It is not being an internet tough guy to say if I was there, whether it was my daughter or someone elses, if I see a man whip out his penis and pee on a child, I probably along with others would jump on this guy. He is described as a 6"4" 195 potential olympian, he probably could kick my old ass, but that would not mean he wouldn't have to try. I suppose if it were your daughter you would have calmly said, please stop peeing on my daughter sir, or I will call a flight attendant, and have them serve you a cup of coffee.

I cannot speak to the accuracy of the Post's story and frankly it reeks of sensationalism. After rereading the story it does appear that the kid just refused comment which is not the same as refusing to apologize or not showing remorse. Actually the fact the kid is not being charged by police or the father for indecent exposure and sexual assault on a minor, is probably evidence that he may have been extremely remorseful and sorry, and that after everything calmed down the father decided not to ruin the kids life any further.

posted by Atheist at 05:44 PM on August 12

As a father, when ever I hear of a child being murdered or sexually abused, it's hard not to imagine yourself in the position of those parents. I as well as most parents have thought to myself what I would do. We like to think we can protect and even avenge if necessary. It isn't being a tough guy to think you would punish or kill someone who harmed your child. Of course when these tragedies do happen, no matter how much a parent wants to take revenge, typically the realization of the further damage going to jail will have on remaining kids, family and your own life mitigate the desire for eye for an eye justice. That said, I sincerely believe I am the type of man, who could not stand by without attempting to physically stop the ass hole regardless of the consequences to me. I would like to think most adult men would also act swiftly and very physically if they were to witness something like this.

posted by Atheist at 05:57 PM on August 12

Also, dad may be a stage 4 cancer survivor, but he's also something of a punk with a latent Rambo complex, if he felt the need to try to beat a guy up over this.

What do you think the proper reaction should be if you see a stranger peeing on your 11-year-old daughter?

posted by rcade at 06:48 PM on August 12

The article states that the dad caught the punk mid-stream, and tried to wipe him out.

Yeah, hincandenza, I may have that Rambo streak in me as well, because, if I'm coming down the aisle and I see you pissing on my daughter, I'm wiping you out as well. (of course, you're talking to a guy that once spent 15 minutes in the back of a squad car for nailing a guy that tried to steal the diaper bag off the back of our stroller at Sea World. Seriously, who steals diaper bags? I'm sure he thought it was a purse, and he then runs straight at me. My reaction was probably 50/50 defensive and offensive in nature. Glad Sea World has cameras everywhere!)

posted by dviking at 07:26 PM on August 12

What do you think the proper reaction should be if you see a stranger peeing on your 11-year-old daughter?

Man, this is a tough one... Fuck his wife?

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:39 PM on August 12

"Olympic hopeful" is perhaps a bit of a stretch

I'll stick with my statement. Yes, I do consider a single-A ballplayer in the same sentiment. He's committed as his "job" to make it to the Olympics (or MLB if you want to make that comparison), so he's a lot more "hopeful" than you or I. The sports-tie in may/may not be strong, but he certainly IS an Olympic hopeful, no stretch about it. Ask him why he's training hours on end each day and I'm sure you'll get the same answer.

. It was startling and shocking and nasty, I'm sure, but unless this girl is exceptionally lucky, she'll experience worse in her life.

What a cop out. He could have pulled out his penis and masturbated in front of that 11 year old and make that same argument, because chances are someone IS going to have something worse than that happen to them. Does that make it less traumatic?

A compassionate response would be to acknowledge the nastiness and that it shouldn't have happened, but to listen to her own authentic reaction rather than suggest to her what that should be.

Who suggested what her response should be? When I said it was the sort of thing that *may* emotionally scar her? I think that's far more compassionate than "she'll experience worse in her life"

posted by bdaddy at 09:18 AM on August 13

The girl won't really care too much

So an 11 year old girl should be FINE with being pissed on? Seriously?

if he felt the need to try to beat a guy up over this.

so the guy wants to beat up a man PEEING on his daughter must have a Rambo complex? Are you s**tting me?

how long did this peeing go on, if the dad was in the bathroom when it happened?

From the other article the dad (and I think brother) both left the girl alone while they went to the lavatories. When they returned the dad saw a stranger peeing on his daughter. I'm still amazed you don't think his first response to that must be anger and protection. You expect him to calmly reason to the stranger pissing on his daughter "sir, would you mind putting that away..that's my daughter's leg". He actually acted as civilly as I can imagine because no punches were thrown...I think it's safe to say MOST dads would have went in fists flying. This guy must have had some measure of restraint.

posted by bdaddy at 09:27 AM on August 13

hincandenza must have been trolling. The optimist in me wants to believe that rather than believe he's really that sorry of an individual.

However, if not, since we're talking about a Jet Blue experience, my suggestion would be: grab two beers and pop the emergency chute.

Unfortunately, the family might not have chosen the most appropriate road to recovery.

This from the article:

Yesterday, the girl's family attempted to recover from the disgusting incident by attending the Yankee game.

posted by beaverboard at 10:31 AM on August 13

I'll stick with my statement. Yes, I do consider a single-A ballplayer in the same sentiment. He's committed as his "job" to make it to the Olympics

Do you also consider any five-year-old t-ball player to be a "hopeful", just because he's got dreams of playing in the majors some day?

so he's a lot more "hopeful" than you or I.

Hardly a robust standard.

The sports-tie in may/may not be strong, but he certainly IS an Olympic hopeful, no stretch about it.

Because you say so? Do you think something becomes true because you keep typing it, using increasing numbers of capital letters?

What a cop out. He could have pulled out his penis and masturbated in front of that 11 year old and make that same argument, because chances are someone IS going to have something worse than that happen to them. Does that make it less traumatic?

What a typical unthinking knee-jerk reaction. Because a penis is involved, it's inherently a sexual act -- that's what you're thinking. Well, you're wrong. The guy was urinating, not masturbating. He wasn't "exposing himself" as a sexual act, he was "exposing himself" because it's pretty hard to urinate without exposing one's genitalia. He was drunk out of his mind and probably didn't know if he was in a plane or on the ground, let alone where he was spraying. All that the act meant is that a drunk guy lost control of his bodily functions -- if he had vomited on her, it would have meant the same. By insisting that the act is sexual in nature and the girl is going to be sexually scarred for life, you are borrowing trouble. You are insisting on making this a huge crippling trauma. You'd probably lose your mind if the girl simply said, "Ew, gross, get away from me!", went to the restroom, washed off the pee (or vomit), and went back to watching the in-flight movie. How does an attitude like yours help someone in her position?

Who suggested what her response should be? When I said it was the sort of thing that *may* emotionally scar her? I think that's far more compassionate than "she'll experience worse in her life"

You're being obtuse. The kid will experience worse in her life: fact, not opinion. Her father has cancer and she's going to lose him and believe me, that will be far worse. This incident was, as I said, startling and shocking and nasty, but it's also something that will wash off quickly -- unless people insist on making it into a great big sexually traumatizing assault. The world will hand this girl plenty bigger beatdowns in her life, just as it hands us all. We don't improve our ability to survive the really nasty stuff by blowing up the smaller stuff into the biggest deal we can make of it.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:48 AM on August 13

He was drunk, did something stupid, there's really not much more to it than that.

Oh, there's more to it than that. Besides the age-liquor connection, the kid had the CHOICE of whether to have 8 drinks before getting on the plane. Those drinks might have led him to do something stupid, but not a lot of folks will care about drunkenness as an excuse for his disgusting behavior.

Misdemeanor & fine + community service should be sufficient.

Tell that to the 11-year-old girl's father, the people on the plane who witnessed the kid pissing on the girl, and the people who read the story about it, regardless of whether it was the New York Post.

Also, dad may be a stage 4 cancer survivor, but he's also something of a punk with a latent Rambo complex, if he felt the need to try to beat a guy up over this.

I think many, if not most, fathers who witness some punk pissing on his daughter would react in the manner of this girl's dad. And most of the people who see or read of this incident would not fault him for his actions or attribute them to a latent Rambo complex.

Also, how long did this peeing go on, if the dad was in the bathroom when it happened?

Whether is was a two-second or two-minute piss is irrelevant. What matters is that a drunk punk pissed on an 11-year-old girl.

posted by roberts at 12:03 PM on August 13

Do you also consider any five-year-old t-ball player to be a "hopeful", just because he's got dreams of playing in the majors some day?

Is a law student who takes a legal internship at a law firm a "lawyer hopeful", or simply the same as a 5 year old kid who says he wants to be a lawyer? You don't see the difference between those 2? And you call me obtuse?

Because you say so?

no, because I can see the difference between someone training for the Olympics versus everyone else who isn't actively training for the Olympics. The former is by definition an Olympic-hopeful.

What a typical unthinking knee-jerk reaction

No, your reaction to "she'll experience worse in her life" is a cop-out. Of course she will. As you pointed out, her dad may die very soon. So in that regard, her being pissed on, molested, smacked on the head daily, called fat, racial epithets, anything else..should not be scarring to her in your mind because "she'll experience worse". At what point do you feel she has a "right" to be traumatized? You seem to have a firm grasp on what is/isn't considered emotionally scarring because you are sure taking issue with me saying this incident *may* be scarring. How do YOU know this isn't traumatic for her? What makes you the expert on this? I've been talking MAY, you're the one saying definitively she doesn't have a right to be traumatized because "she'll experience worse".

if he had vomited on her, it would have meant the same
I can think of more than a few people who would be traumatized by waking to a stranger throwing up on them as well.

by insisting that the act is sexual in nature and the girl is going to be sexually scarred for life
quit putting words in my mouth.
a) I never said it was sexual in nature. My *masturbation* comment was in response to your "oh, she'll experience worse things in life"...not comparing his peeing on her to masturbation
b) I never said she was going to be scarred for life. You know what the word *may* means, right?

posted by bdaddy at 12:52 PM on August 13

Is a law student who takes a legal internship at a law firm a "lawyer hopeful", or simply the same as a 5 year old kid who says he wants to be a lawyer? You don't see the difference between those 2? And you call me obtuse?

Ok, I won't call you obtuse -- I'll just say that you don't know what you're talking about. The chances of a law student becoming a lawyer are vastly greater than a D-team member making it to the Olympics.

No, your reaction to "she'll experience worse in her life" is a cop-out.

I think you're confused. I'm the one who said "She'll experience worse in her life"; how could I be reacting to my own statement?

At what point do you feel she has a "right" to be traumatized?

Intellectual dishonesty, bdaddy. Your use of quotes implies that I said that. Try again, this time speaking to what I said, not to an absurd strawman argument.

You seem to have a firm grasp on what is/isn't considered emotionally scarring because you are sure taking issue with me saying this incident *may* be scarring. How do YOU know this isn't traumatic for her? What makes you the expert on this? I've been talking MAY, you're the one saying definitively she doesn't have a right to be traumatized because "she'll experience worse".

Intellectual dishonesty again. Come back when you can speak to what I actually wrote, not to some absurd strawman argument that you constructed out of whole cloth.

I can think of more than a few people who would be traumatized by waking to a stranger throwing up on them as well.

As in, emotionally scarred for the rest of their lives (your words, not mine)? I sure hope not! It's a nasty and unpleasant occurrence, as I've already said twice. But can you really specifically think of "more than a few" people that you know personally who would be emotionally scarred for life by such a thing? Just what is "more than a few", anyway, and what do you mean by "emotionally scarred"?

quit putting words in my mouth.

Oh, my, that's rich.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:07 PM on August 14

I don't get why calling him an Olympic hopeful is such a point of contention. He wouldn't be in the U.S. Olympic development program if there wasn't at least a slim hope he'd develop into an Olympic skier.

As for the Post sensationalizing the sports connection, it's one of the only available facts to describe who the guy is. If he was a dog groomer the story would say that.

posted by rcade at 08:30 PM on August 14

My favorite part was when the thread turned into a pissing contest.

posted by tron7 at 10:46 AM on August 15

Naw, it's just raining.

posted by yerfatma at 11:01 AM on August 15

In related news, R & B singer R. Kelly has made inquiries into a sponsorship of the USOC

posted by tahoemoj at 01:24 PM on August 15

sorry, wrong thread

posted by yerfatma at 03:46 PM on August 15

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