HASH(0xb41b70)

Second witness tells sex-assault trial of ex-ski coach about harassment

Second witness testifies at trial of ex-ski coach

SAINT-JEROME, Que. — The second alleged victim to take the stand at Bertrand Charest’s sex-assault trial told the court Friday she suffered intense psychological harassment when she joined the national ski team in 1996.

The woman testified that she became caught in Charest’s orbit at 15.

She said Charest manipulated her psychologically and touched her inappropriately.

The harassment, she testified, broke her and put an end to her skiing career after two years.

During her testimony, she said Charest never sexually assaulted her when he coached her but that she almost wished he had so she could feel as though she had more evidence against him.

The woman said she kept silent for years because she felt as though she was his only alleged victim and what she suffered wasn’t significant enough to come forward.

Charest is facing 57 charges including sexual assault and breach of trust, with 12 alleged victims between the ages of 12 and 19 at the time.

Charest, 51, worked with Alpine Canada’s women’s development team between 1996 and 1998 and has been in custody since his arrest in March 2015.

The witness told the court he forced her to ski through a serious injury and that he constantly insulted her, although he was very gentle at other times.

“Every day was hell,” she said.

She said Charest didn’t want his students to have boyfriends and regularly asked her, when they were alone, what kind of sexual relations she had with her partner.

“We lived in his bubble and we were manipulated and were constantly played off against one another,” she said.

A third alleged victim later told the court Charest would ask about her sexual relations with her boyfriend.

She testified that Charest would behave in ways she thought were inappropriately intimate.

The witness said the accused told her, “You must miss your boyfriend. You could have sex with me.”

She added another ski student, who was allegedly having a relationship with Charest, confided to her he had hit her.

The court was also shown a video Friday of Charest’s deposition to police after his 2015 arrest.

In the video, Charest told police he was in love with two of his alleged victims and added, “I never did anything with anyone against their will. When there is no consent, for me, it’s rape.”

He said that for years following his departure from the national ski team, he worried his relations with the athletes would come back to haunt him.

“It’s not the intention that is wrong,” he said in the video. “It’s society that has decided that it’s not correct. There were never any bad intentions.”

Pierre St-Arnaud, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Caged: Kelowna Falcons suffer 6th straight loss

The Falcons look for revenge Saturday night after a 15-5 loss

Pirko found guilty in the 2014 second-degree murder of Chris Ausman

A Kelowna jury found Steven Randy Pirko guilty of the second-degree murder

Grievance dismissed: Kelowna bus driver loses case after texting on job

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

UPDATE: Dog bitten by rattlesnake in West Kelowna “going to be OK”

The dog, Bella, is recovering after being bitten on a hike at Rose Valley Trails

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Sun and heat continue Saturday

Environment Canada forecasts highs of 30 C throughout the Okanagan Saturday

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Give Hope Wings fundraiser launches Saturday from Pitt Meadows

Flying marathon will benefit low income Canadians needing flights for medical treatment

Vernon seeks additional fetal alcohol syndrome support B.C.-wide

“We are making a difference but we could make even more of a difference”

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Gambler 500 hits Okanagan back roads

Hundreds of off road enthusiasts are rallying in the South Okanagan this… Continue reading

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

Letter: Homeless need more than handouts

To the editor: Re: Solutions to homelessness I firmly believe that automation,… Continue reading

Letter: Drug addicts taking over downtown

To the editor: In regards to the current state of the City… Continue reading

Most Read