Ex-ski coach Bertrand Charest to learn fate on sex charges involving girls

Ex-ski coach Bertrand Charest to learn fate on sex charges involving girls

SAINT-JEROME, Que. — A Quebec judge will hand down verdicts today in the case of a former national ski coach accused of sexual assault and breach of trust involving some of his students.

Bertrand Charest was tried this year on 57 charges involving 12 alleged victims who were between the ages of 12 and 19.

They all took the stand during a trial before Quebec court Judge Sylvain Lepine in Saint-Jerome, north of Montreal.

The charges against the 52-year-old are in connection with alleged crimes from the 1990s in Quebec and other locations such as Whistler, B.C., New Zealand and the United States.

The alleged offences occurred both before and during Charest’s stint with Alpine Canada’s women’s development team between 1996 and 1998.

Charest, who has been in custody since his arrest in March 2015, did not testify at the trial.

Several of the alleged victims testified they had sexual relationships with Charest, with many saying he was controlling and manipulative toward the athletes whose careers he managed.

Some of them said they felt they were in love with Charest at the time but eventually came to believe they had been manipulated.

Charest, who has been in custody since his arrest in March 2015, did not testify at the trial.

But one of his lawyers told reporters at the end of the proceedings that, while Charest didn’t deny having had sex with some of the girls, the accused disagreed with his portrayal by the Crown and his alleged victims.

“There were sexual relationships between Mr. Charest and certain of the (alleged) victims,” Antonio Cabral said in March.

“What Mr. Charest wasn’t ready to admit was that this was a generalized behaviour and that it was generalized with 12 (alleged) victims as is reported in the charges.”

Cabral said Charest believed the sex he had with the young skiers was consensual.

The Canadian Press
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