Second witness tells sex-assault trial of ex-ski coach about harassment

Second witness tells sex-assault trial of ex-ski coach about harassment

SAINT-JEROME, Que. — The second alleged victim to take the stand at Bertrand Charest’s sex-assault trial says she suffered intense psychological harassment when she joined the national ski team in 1996.

The woman testified today she became caught in Charest’s orbit at 15.

She says she suffered psychological manipulation and inappropriate touching and that the harassment broke her and put an end to her skiing career after two years.

During her testimony, she said her ski coach never sexually assaulted her but she almost wished he had so she could feel as though she had more evidence against him.

The young woman said she kept silent for years because she felt as though she was his only alleged victim and what she suffered wasn’t significant enough to come forward.

Charest is facing 57 charges including sexual assault and breach of trust, with 12 alleged victims between the ages of 12 and 19 at the time.

Charest, 51, worked with Alpine Canada’s women’s development team between 1996 and 1998 and has been in custody since his arrest in March 2015.

The witness told the court he forced her to ski through a serious injury and that he constantly insulted her, although he was very gentle at other times.

She said Charest didn’t want his students to have boyfriends and regularly asked her, when they were alone, what kind of sexual relations she had with her partner.

“We lived in his bubble and we were manipulated and were constantly played off against one another,” she said.

A third alleged victim later told the court Charest would ask about her sexual relations with her boyfriend.

She testified that Charest would behave in ways she thought were inappropriately intimate.

She added another ski student, who was allegedly having a relationship with Charest, confided to her that Charest had hit her.

The Canadian Press

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