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30 Jan, 2020 11:20

‘It was the first time that a man touched me’: French 10-time skating champ Sarah Abitbol claims she was raped by former coach

‘It was the first time that a man touched me’: French 10-time skating champ Sarah Abitbol claims she was raped by former coach

Renowned French pairs skater Sarah Abitbol, who won multiple international awards together with her partner Stephane Bernadis, has claimed she was raped by a former coach.

In an interview with the newspaper L’Obs, Abitbol, the 2000 world bronze medalist, accused her former coach Gilles Beyer of systematic sexual assault and rape between 1990 and 1992, when she was between the ages of 15 and 17.

He started doing horrible things… sexual abuse and I was raped when I was 15. It was the first time that a man touched me,” the 44-year-old said.

The seven-time European medalist said that neither her parents nor French figure skating officials had known about the alleged ordeal she had gone through.

Abitbol added that when she decided to come forward with her accusations after her retirement, the Ministry of Sport allegedly snubbed her claims.

Yes, we have a file on him, but we’re going to close our eyes,” Jean-Francois Lamour, who headed the French Sports Ministry, at that time allegedly replied.

Abitbol is not the first to make accusations against Beyer, as a fellow French figure skater claimed to have been sexually abused by him at the end of the 1970s, while she was between 13 and 14 years.

The allegations came just a week after a French tennis coach Andrew Geddes was sentenced to 18 years in jail for raping four underage players.

Also on rt.com French champion figure skater accused of sexually abusing 13yo US female athlete

At the end of 2019, an independent investigation initiated by French journalists uncovered multiple sexual crimes in the country’s sport.

According to the investigation more than 276 athletes from 28 different sports, mostly kids under 15 years of age were victims of sexual abuse.

France 24 reports that the accused have rejected the claims against them or not responded to requests for comment. 

The French Sports Ministry plans to organize a conference on February 20 to address the issue.