Gymnastics coach Michel Arsenault under investigation for sex assaults

Gymnastics coach Michel Arsenault is being investigated by Quebec's provincial police force over alleged sexual assaults, Radio-Canada Sports has learned.

Radio-Canada Sports confirms Quebec provincial police looking into allegations

In December, several of Michel Arsenault's former athletes told Radio-Canada Sports about incidents of alleged abuse by their coach in the 1980s and 1990s. (Radio-Canada Sports)

Gymnastics coach Michel Arsenault is being investigated by Quebec's provincial police force over alleged sexual assaults, Radio-Canada Sports has learned. 

The Sûreté du Québec (SQ) confirmed on Wednesday an investigation is underway, but would not identify the man named in the complaints. 

SQ spokesperson Martine Asselin said police are looking into allegations against a coach from seven complainants — all girls and young women who were between 10 and 20 years old at the time of the alleged incidents.

Police confirmed that the suspect is a 56-year-old man, no longer living in Quebec.

Arsenault was accused of assault by several athletes in December.

He left Quebec in 1994, settled in Alberta and got a job coaching gymnastics at a gym in Edmonton. In 2002, he and his wife opened their own gym, Champions Gymnastics, in Edmonton.

No longer at Edmonton gym

After Radio-Canada Sports published an investigation last month, featuring first-hand accounts from women who say they were abused in the 1980s and 1990s, Arsenault was dropped from the gym.

On Dec. 11, the gym announced that Arsenault's wife, Valérie Oudin, and the couple's daughter, Sara Stafford, were now its sole owners.

However, Alberta's business register indicates that Arsenault still owns 50 per cent of the company's shares.

The SQ is hoping that by launching an investigation, other potential victims might come forward.

"For victims, but also for witnesses — people who might have heard something but at the time never spoke up — they can contact the Sureté du Québec confidentially," said Asselin.

The SQ can be reached at 1-800-659-4264.

Files from Marie Malchelosse, Christine Roger, Michel Chabot, Jacques-Alexis Bernardin, Luc Fortin