Gymnastics Canada suspends Edmonton-based coach in wake of sex-abuse allegations – Edmonton

Gymnastics Canada has suspended Edmonton-based coach Michel Arsenault amid allegations he sexually abused some of his former students in Quebec in the 1980s and ’90s.

“No athlete should be subject to this type of conduct, and we are working tirelessly to ensure that all of our participants are able to take part in our sport in a safe and welcoming environment,” Richard Crépin, chair of the board of directors for Gymnastics Canada, said in a news release.

A Wednesday report by the sports unit of Radio-Canada, CBC’s French-language network, detailed the accounts of three gymnasts who said Arsenault sexually abused them when they were minors and members of Flipgym in Montreal.

Arsenault was fired from the gym in 1993 and left Quebec in 1994. He settled in Edmonton and got a job coaching gymnastics at a local gym. In 2002, he and his wife opened their own gym, Champions Gymnastics, which issued a statement yesterday in wake of the Radio-Canada report saying Arsenault would no longer be involved in any of the gym’s activities and was barred from the premises.

Arsenault, who is well known as one of Canada’s top women’s gymnastics coaches, has not been charged with any crime. He did not respond to repeated requests for comment on the initial story. 

Three former gymnasts who were coached by Arsenault in Montreal during the 1980s and early ’90s say he engaged in sexually abusive behaviour. Others say he made intimidation, humiliation and demeaning comments a routine part of their training.

Gymnastics Canada and the Alberta Gymnastics Federation both issued statements Thursday stressing that the safety and well-being of the sport’s participants is of the highest priority.

Scott Hayes, president of the Alberta Gymnastics Federation, said its agency has policies in place around the screening of employees, coaches, judges, support staff and volunteers who travel and work with the athletes.

“We continue to review and update our policies and…

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