9th complainant testifies against national ski coach during sex assault trial

9th complainant testifies against national ski coach during sex assault trial

SAINT-JEROME, Que. — A ninth woman who has accused former national ski coach Bertrand Charest of sexual assault told his trial on Friday that she thought she was in love with him.

She was 14 when she first joined his ski team.

The woman, whose name is protected by a publication ban, said Charest would tell her he loved her and wanted to marry her.

Like the eight witnesses who proceeded her, she told the court her former ski coach was a manipulator who liked to play his students against one another.

Sometimes he would be seductive, other times he would be critical and nasty, she explained.

Charest, 51, is on trial on 57 charges, including sexual assault and breach of trust, in relation to 12 complainants between the ages of 12 and 19.

He worked with Alpine Canada’s women’s development team between 1996 and 1998, however, some of the accusations against him date before that time.

Friday’s witness alleged Charest kissed her and inappropriately touched her during the years 1991 through 1993, when she was between 14 and 16 years old.

Earlier in the day, a former Alpine Canada executive testified he told Charest to leave his duties as soon as he learned of allegations that the former ski coach was having sexual relationships with at least three skiers.

Joze Sparovec told the court he confronted the coach in early 1998 and suggested he attend therapy.

He said Alpine Canada had informed the families of the three skiers that it was up to them to decide whether or not to speak to police about Charest.

Earlier in the week, however, a witness testified that Alpine Canada had advised her at the time not to talk about Charest’s alleged behaviour towards her, in order not to risk losing sponsorships.

The allegations against Charest date back to the 1990s and involve locations such as Whistler, B.C., New Zealand, Italy and the United States.

His trial resumes on Monday.

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