Ottawa Lions coach, chair suspended by Athletics Canada
Andy McInnis, Ken Porter suspended as part of sexual harassment investigation
Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club coach Andy McInnis and chair Ken Porter have been suspended as part of an ongoing sexual harassment investigation, Athletics Canada announced Monday.
According to a notice of suspension signed by Athletics Canada commissioner Frank Fowlie, McInnis has been on paid leave since September 2018 due to allegations of sexual harassment, and was banned from coaching or having contact with any athletes or members of the club.
According to the notice, McInnis was reprimanded twice before by the club, and by the University of Ottawa over allegations made against him in 2016
Despite the ban, Athletics Canada alleges McInnis took part in training with the club in California during the last week of December 2018 and first week of January 2019.
McInnis is a member of the Athletics Canada Hall of Fame and coached the gold medal winning men's relay team at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
McInnis also provided commentary during the 2004 Olympics for CBC.
Statement issued by club
Porter has been suspended for not taking "adequate remedial action" against McInnis when he had knowledge that he would be coaching club athletes, according to the notice.
In a statement posted online, the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club confirmed the suspensions of Porter and McInnis.
"Upon receipt of a final report from the investigation and in consultation with the decision of the Athletics Canada Commissioner's Office, the board will take swift and appropriate measures in the best interest of the club," the statement said.
Ryan Rowat has taken over as interim president of the club during Porter's suspension according to the club's statement.
Athletics Canada wants to send a strong message
Athletics Canada is investigating the allegations and plans to release a decision by June 30.
Bill MacMackin, president of Athletics Canada said they want to ensure the club is taking the issue seriously.
"In this case, we certainly want to send a strong a message to make sure that this club is acting appropriately. Presently they are, but there's some behaviour here from the past that needs to be dealt with and hopefully the report address those matters effectively," MacMackin told the CBC. "We also are quite prepared to take the necessary action to send a strong statement about inappropriate behaviour and inappropriate handling of complaints which is some of today's message is about"
None of the allegations against either man has been proven in court, and CBC is not aware of any criminal charges or investigations against them.
- An earlier version of this story said Andy McInnis was a member of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. In fact, he is a member of the Athletics Canada Hall of Fame.Mar 25, 2019 5:02 PM ET