In light of many other people within this community sharing their stories I decided to share my own. From April of 2022 to early August of 2022 I was groomed by the former lead developer of PROS Hannah Brooke, more commonly known as hotel (HotelCalifornia (Hannah Brooke) · GitHub). I am 16 she is 24. We met through the VRC discord where when I made some jokes she reached out in dms. Almost immediately on that first day she turned the conversation slightly sexual with the comment “smh why are you too young”. She was fully aware of my age at the time. We started talking more regularly and the conversations escalated more and more. I did not fully comprehend that they were escalating at the time as it was gradual. She would often send pictures of her thighs though never anything explicitly sexual. This continued until I finally realized what had happened and I reported her to the staff of the vrc discord and she was banned. The PROS dev team also took action and removed her status as a contributor. However, the general community does not know about this and I decided I wanted to share what happened.
I can fully corroborate OP’s story. I saw some disturbing sexually explicit comments that Hannah Brooke made to OP, as well as to myself and a couple of others in a small private discord server, and reported them to an adult leader. This led to an investigation which revealed what was described by OP, and Brooke was banned from the vtow discord server, removed from the PROS team, and ousted from a mentoring position that she had with a local Pennsylvania VEX team.
Incredibly sorry you had to experience this.
Remember though pros is not related to vex the company but I am still sorry that happened to you
this doesn’t mean anything it’s still should be taken srsly
I would never expect to log on today and have seen this. I’m so sorry this happened to you and everyone else affected. I wish you the best in finding the appropriate resources to resolve this.
I am sorry to hear about this, but is this the place to talk about this.
Any place that someone chooses to talk about what happened to them IS the place to talk about it.
The reason why I asked this is the amount of young kids who use VF.
Being aware that there are real incidents of behavior like this is one line of defense against it.
As unfortunate as the reality is, these things happen. I don’t think shielding younger people from this reality does them any favors, and it’s better they’re aware that these things can happen, what it looks like, and that they should follow OP’s example and report it if it does.
There is a content warning in the title as to make sure that people know what they’re getting into beforehand. It’s import for this to be on VF so middle schoolers and the like can learn this happens, and that if it happens to you, you should report it.
(Edited for clarification)
The minimum age for vex forum usage is 13. For most students that will be 7th or 8th grade. At that point, they have already been exposed to a lot of stuff through school. Frequent use of language, sexual jokes, and other inappropriate language. However, instead of everything being treated as a joke, this topic is being seriously discussed, far better than anything at school.
This is absolutely the place to share this. Take a look over at the FRC forums ( Chief Delphi) and you’ll find this topic essentially exploding right now as certain issues come to light.
This is the essential moment for this community to stand with those who have been harmed and let them know we are on their side. Given a present threat of actively involved adults who are willing and able to abuse their position of power, it is vital that this kind of post can serve as a warning and conversation point for teams across the program. I pray that the number of individuals involved in VEX who are capable of this degree of evil is minimal, but the only correct number is zero.
To the original poster, I am deeply sorry that you had to experience this degree of misconduct and I deeply admire your courage in bringing the topic to light. In case no one has said this already, as a student competitor at age 16, none of this is your fault. Years after my last VRC season, I found great comfort and relief in visiting a therapist to work through issues and trauma I experienced that was out of my control as a student. I hope you are able to heal and find support in whatever way you need. Please know that the courage of individuals like yourself has already put serious changes into motion in the FRC community and I am hopeful the VEX community will follow shortly after.
It can be difficult to know how to impact change on a community as an individual. This is a question I myself have had to debate in the past weeks. All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. If you are willing and able to volunteer at events or as a mentor, you can be the one who believes and supports victims of abuse. You can be the one who takes a stand in your community to support zero-tolerance of sexism, racism, homophobia, predatory relationships, and abuse of power.
To those who wish to exploit this community for personal gain and abuse positions of power, you are outnumbered.
Dear VEX Community,
Regarding the sexual misconduct from Hannah Brooke (aka. hotel), the former lead developer for PROS up until 2020: we have no tolerance for this behavior at all, which is why she was removed from the PROS Development Team and the VRC Discord back in July, as soon as we were able to take action a few hours after we were informed. She no longer has any association with the PROS Development Team, Purdue SIGBots, or the VEX community.
Thank you for having the courage to share your story publicly. The VRC community has no tolerance for this behavior, and we hope that through sharing your story, it is clear that this community is insistent on believing victims and taking steps to prevent anything like this from occurring in the future. If anyone else has experienced this kind of behavior or experiences it in the future, speak up. Reach out to your adult leaders, forum/discord moderators, etc. so that the behavior is stopped and no one else is hurt in this manner.
We chose not to make any public statements back in July in the interest of protecting the minors involved. We felt that it was not our place to divulge the details of the incident to the community, rather that it was up to the victims to decide how much of the situation they wanted in the public eye. We ask that the community respect the privacy of the victims and not push them more than they wish about details regarding the situation.
The PROS Development Team
Thank you so much for all your support throughout this. You handled it exactly as I wished it to be.
Just following up with our response from the VEX discord server.
In July, it was brought to our attention that Hannah Brooke (AKA hotel), an administrator of this Discord server at the time, had been grooming a member of this server, a minor, since April. We responded by quickly banning Hannah from this server, removing her from the PROS team, and separating her from the VEX community at large. Hannah had been a respected member of the community for years, and we were shocked and disgusted by what she had done. At the time, we refrained from making a public statement regarding this horrible misconduct to respect the victim’s wishes. This week, the victim shared publicly on the VEX Forum details of Hannah’s sexual misconduct towards them. We commend the victim for their bravery throughout this entire situation, and are deeply saddened that this happened to them. The admin team, myself especially, profusely apologizes for unknowingly elevating a predator to a position of power in this server, and unintentionally exposing the community to them. If anything like this happens to you or someone you know, please reach out to a server administrator or moderator. If you don’t feel comfortable reaching out directly, tell someone you trust, and ask them to reach out on your behalf.
-VEX Discord Admin Team
Just to clarify that screenshot is from 5/15/2022 several months before Hotel was banned.
Is there an ongoing relationship with the team now? I know one of our admins reached out to teams Hotel was working with(in July when we found out) but I don’t know what team it was. I will check with them.
No. Hotel was acting extremely weird back then (I am really not in the mood to find screenshots), and to be honest, if you don’t see any issues letting a 25 year old with the nickname “thotel” be trusted around high schoolers then you’re part of the problem. I already know you’re going to say that it was a joke, but with the knowledge we have now about the situation, it was very clearly not a joke. Imagine just finding out now that the person who was trying to “mentor” your brothers is now being exposed for being a predator.
I think I deserve the right to be pissed off.