The Current

Survivor of sexual assault goes public to create a sporting world free of abuse

Former Olympian Geneviève Simard says that bringing her former ski coach Bertrand Charest to court over sexual abuse is the hardest thing she's ever had to do. She fought to have her name made public to help ensure other young athletes don't experience the same ordeal.

Geneviève Simard is 1 of 4 women who won the right to be named after conviction of Bertrand Charest

Geneviève Simard, 1 of 4 women abused by their ex-ski coach Bertrand Charest, said change needs to happen immediately to make sport a safe place for young athletes. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)
Listen11:53

Read Story Transcript

A former Olympian is relieved at being able to finally speak publicly about the sexual abuse she suffered as a young athlete, after a Quebec judge lifted a publication ban that kept her identity a secret.

Geneviève Simard is one of four women who won the right to be named, after the conviction last year of their former ski coach Bertrand Charest. Nine women accused Charest of abusing them while they were young athletes in his care; not all of them have asked to be named.

Bertrand Charest is serving a 12-year sentence after being convicted of 37 charges in June 2017. (Radio-Canada)

"It's really good to be out in the public and say my name out loud," Simard told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.

"Now I'm able to speak publicly about what has happened to us, in order to create awareness and hopefully … [to] make sure that none of these kinds of abuse can ever take place," she added.

Charest is serving a 12-year sentence after being convicted of 37 charges, including sexual assault and sexual exploitation. He has denied the accusations and is appealing some of the charges for which he was found guilty.

CBC's Adrienne Arsenault sat down with four former Canadian athletes 3:40

The Current first spoke with Simard in 2015, when she revealed that she kept the abuse a secret for two decades. She came forward when she discovered that Charest was still coaching young girls. Because of the publication ban in place at the time, we called her "G" and disguised her voice.

Simard spoke with The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti about her journey to find justice, and why she hopes speaking up will save other young athletes from the same ordeal. Listen to the full conversation near the top of this page.


This segment was produced by The Current's Geoff Turner and Montreal network producer Susan McKenzie.