by: Mickey Ingles (Photo from Josiah Weihman’s Facebook) (Special thanks to Trinca Diploma for telling me about this story!)
Another coach has been accused of sexual harassment.
Rappler recently posted a story about how basketball coach (and pastor) Leo Arnaiz made sexual advances on his Fil-Am basketball player Josiah Weihman. Weihman was 14 at that time of the advances and suited up for the Christian Legacy Academy (CLA) basketball team in Baguio City. Weihman is now 28 years old and living in the United States.
Rappler’s story was sourced from Weihman’s Facebook post which recounted how Arnaiz:
- insisted he be called “big bro” instead of “coach” to break down barriers between Arnaiz and his players;
- showered Weihman and his players with free gifts and gear;
- managed to get Weihman to have a sleepover in his house;
- showed Weihman gory videos of people being beheaded, raped, and killed; and
- turned up the A/C to freezing levels so Wehiman would gravitate towards his body in bed.
Two more former members of the CLA basketball team have since spoken out against Arnaiz; they, too, recalled how Arnaiz touched them inappropriately when they were teenagers.
It seems the allegations of Weihman (and the other two then-teenagers) fall squarely under R.A. 7877 or the Sexual Harassment Law. But will a charge against Arnaiz prevail?
Sexual harassment occurs in three environments: work, education, and training. Relevant to a possible case against Arnaiz is sexual harassment in the education environment because he was the basketball coach for CLU and the victims were all members of the team.
In the school setting, sexual harassment is committed:
- by a teacher, instructor, professor, coach, or any other person having authority, influence, or moral ascendancy over another, and
- when said person requires any sexual favor, regardless of whether the demand or request is accepted by the victim.
Note that a mere request or demand for a sexual favor is sexual harassment. The victim does not have to agree to the request for sexual harassment to occur.
The law also clarifies that sexual harassment in the education environment can be committed in one of four ways:
- When it is committed against one who is under the care, custody, or supervision of the offender;
- When it is committed against one whose education, training, apprenticeship, or tutorship is entrusted to the offender;
- When a sexual favor is made a condition to the giving of a passing grade, or the granting of honors and scholarships, or the payment of an allowance or benefits; or
- When the sexual advances result in an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for the student.
Weihman’s allegations tick #1,#2, and #4.
The school can also be held liable for damages if the school is informed that sexual harassment occurs within the school setting and does nothing to stop it.
The problem though is that the action to charge Arnaiz with sexual harassment has already prescribed, barring any recourse to courts. RA 7877 states that any action for sexual harassment must be brought to court within three years. The acts recounted by Weihman happened 14 years ago. If ever, the charges should’ve been brought against Arnaiz within three years from the night of the sleepover.
While sexual harassment will most likely be off the table because of prescription, Arnaiz can still be held liable for sexual abuse under R.A. 7610—which we discussed in our previous post about alleged volleyball coach rapist Gregory Laping. Note that sexual abuse is committed when a minor is coerced into lascivious conduct by an adult. Weihman’s story provides a strong case of sexual abuse committed by Arnaiz.
All these instances of sexual harassment and sexual abuse—by coaches no less— are heartbreaking. These have to stop. And yes, this includes those “kwarto for quatro” jokes. They’re not funny. Let’s not normalize this.
Mickey Ingles is the editor-in-chief of Batas Sportiva.
 Section 3, R.A. 7877.
 Section 5, R.A. 7877.
 Olivarez v. Court of Appeals, July 29, 2005.
 Section 5 (a), R.A. 7610.
 Article 90, Revised Penal Code.