USA Dressage Team Rider Benjamin Ebeling Sued for Alleged Sexual Abuse of Minor in Training at California Farm

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Benjamin Ebeling competing on the United States team at the CDIO5* Nations Cup Grand Prix in Aachen, Germany Friday, the same day the civil lawsuit alleging sexual abuse was filed in California. © 2022 Ken Braddick/DRESSAGE-NEWS.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

A civil lawsuit alleging sexual abuse of an unidentified female by United States dressage team rider Benjamin Ebeling has been filed in California Superior Court, claiming that his mother and father, Olympic competitor Jan Ebeling, did not protect the student when she was 13 years old.

The lawsuit seeking a jury trial was filed in Superior Court in Ventura County where the Ebelings were based for 20 years in Moorpark, just north of Los Angeles. The law firm Greenberg Gross LLP representing the family of the female, who is now an adult identified as Jane Doe 7032 to protect her identity confirmed to Dressage-News.com the filing on Thursday, June 30. On the same day, the 22-year-old Benjamin Ebeling was competing on Indeed on the U.S. team at the CDIO5* Nations Cup in Aachen, Germany.

Amy Ebeling, who is in Aachen with her son, told Dressage-News.com she was unaware of the lawsuit. The family recently sold the Moorpark farm to move to Wellington, Florida.

Benjamin, who was pursuing a business degree at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, dropped out to pursue a dressage career in which he was hailed as a star for the future.

The U.S. Safe Sport Center that has overall responsibility for investigating and penalizing participants in Olympic sports found to have violated the code of behavior had not posted any determination as of late Friday.

The lawsuit alleged that the plaintiff complained to Safe Sport as did others. The agency has apparently completed an investigation and is weighing whether to take action.

Responsibility for dealing with allegations of sexual misconduct lies solely with the Safe Sport organization and not with the U.S. Equestrian Federation.

Benjamin Ebeling is entered to compete Saturday at the World Equestrian Festival Nations Cup in Aachen and as of Friday night his name remained on the start list.

The 17-page lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff was “sexually abused, harassed, violated and molested” by Benjamin Ebeling and “permitted to commit these acts against the Plaintiff with impunity due to his role and status at the training facility where the assault took place: Defendant Acres”–the name of the farm.

“As a young equestrian athlete, Plaintiff sacrificed many aspects of her youth in the hopes of achieving her dreams of becoming an accomplished equestrian competing at the highest levels in her sport. Plaintiff began her training at the Acres when she was only 13 years old because she and her family believed the training and opportunities at the Acres would allow Plaintiff a chance to earn her spot on the Olympic team.

“However, defendants who had a legal, moral and ethical duty to protect Plaintiff, betrayed the purported values they held by allowing Benjamin Ebeling to access Plaintiff completely unsupervised, whereupon he proceeded to drug and sexually assault Plaintiff. Defendants completely failed to enact adequate policies and procedures to prevent the sexual abuse of young equestrian athletes in their care.”

The trust, the suit alleges, “was breached and Plaintiff’s aspirations turned to fear, distress and anxiety for which Plaintiff now seeks to recover in this action, and through which Plaintiff seeks to protect future equestrians from undergoing the pain and suffering endured at the hands of Benjamin Ebeling.”