A retired Canadian Olympic skier has launched a proposed class-action lawsuit alleging Alpine Canada didn’t protect its female athletes from the sexual assaults of a former coach, reports the Globe and Mail.
Allison Forsyth alleges in a statement of claim filed in British Columbia Supreme Court that the national governing body for ski racing failed to properly investigate the coaching history of Bertrand Charest and is vicariously liable for his sexual misconduct.
Charest was convicted in a Quebec court on more than three dozen sex charges involving female athletes ranging in age between 12 and 18 and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. His lawyers were in court this month appealing both his conviction and sentence and he remains free on bail while the court decides his fate.
Forsyth’s lawsuit alleges Alpine Canada hired Charest as a coach for the national team from 1996 to 1998 when it was common knowledge in the ski racing community he engaged in sexualized conduct with female athletes. The allegations have not been proven in court and Alpine Canada says in a statement that it is reviewing the details of the lawsuit relating to events that occurred in the 1990s.
“For the past 20 years, Alpine Canada has been working to ensure a safe environment for all athletes, and we are continually reviewing best practices with regards to athlete safety and security.”
Another lawsuit was filed last year against Alpine Canada in Quebec by three other former female ski team members making similar allegations.