Bertrand Charest case: 'Manipulative' coach banned boyfriends, claims B.C. woman
Former national ski coach faces 47 charges related to sexual assault and harassment
A B.C. woman is the latest former member of the Canadian Junior Alpine Ski Team to come forward about former coach Bertrand Charest, now facing 47 sex abuse charges involving minor athletes between 1991 and 1998.
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There is a ban on the identity of the alleged victims and we are not identifying the 34-year-old woman.
"Everyone was just too afraid to say anything and no one knew how," said the woman through tears, as she remembered her early dealings with Charest after making the national team.
"As soon as we started in summer camp, he was like, none of you girls can have a boyfriend. There are no boyfriends. He said he wanted our focus and the manipulation from then on was just beyond anything I've ever seen."
She was just 16 years old when she travelled to Sölden, a small skiing town is Austria, where the Canadian team spent three months a year.
Woman called police
This Thursday morning, she called police in Mont Tremblant and shared what she claims to know about the alleged abuse.
She claims Charest made several unwanted advances on her.
"He was physical in terms of trying to get me to, just the way he was touching me, but I never had sex with him, verbally he was so abusive and I think that was because I wasn't having sex with him."
She describes him as intimidating and says he made her train, even when she was seriously injured, and he refused to take her to hospital. She says he would take her on drives and play chicken with other cars to scare her.
While the allegations have not been proven in court, she is the third complainant to tell CBC that Alpine Canada fired Charest after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced in the late 1990s.
She says she has been angry for years, because she doesn't think Alpine Canada officials did anything to ensure Charest could no longer coach minors.
Alpine Canada responds
CBC has tried to reach the official she claims flew to Austria to fire Charest but he has not returned our calls.
Alpine Canada would not answer specific questions about whether Charest was fired and why.
In a statement Friday, Alpine Canada acknowledged it was aware of an allegation of misconduct involving one female athlete.
"In February 1998, ACA was advised by a source that Mr. Charest may have engaged in inappropriate contact with a female member of the Team."
Alpine Canada says Charest was removed from coaching duties, and an investigation was launched but he chose to resign.
Officials say they did contact the RCMP about the matter but "ACA is not aware of the results of the RCMP's investigation."
Three former athletes have told CBC news that they were never interviewed by police about sexual misconduct and were not aware police were contacted.
"They dismissed him and swept it under the rug," said the latest former member of the team to come forward. She says she eventually had a nervous breakdown and left the team.
"He is the reason I left the sport."
"There was such a large pool of young talent during those couple years on the women's side and none of them continued on for long after. I truly believe he was a major factor in that."
Charest’s lawyer has not yet returned our calls. He has not entered a plea and the allegations have not been proven in court.
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