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France - Sport

French athletics coach suspended amid rape accusations

An illustration photo of an athletics track
An illustration photo of an athletics track Makoto / Flickr
2 min

A former head coach of an athletics club near Paris is under investigation for alleged rape in the latest sexual abuse scandal to hit French sport.

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Described as omnipotent and compared to a guru, the coach, who has not been named, ran a local athletics club in Saint-Germain-en-Laye just outside the capital.

On Tuesday, police in the Yvelines, a department west of Paris, launched a preliminary investigation against him after receiving numerous complaints for sexual and psychological harassment and the rape of a minor of over 15 years old.

The probe is likely to deepen the crisis in French sport, which is already reeling from multiple sexual abuse scandals, notably in figure skating.

The investigation, which began on 30 December, covers a fifteen-year period and has involved interviews with several club members, according to sources.

The suspect was suspended from sports-related activities on 4 January, a move described by his lawyer, Charles Thuillier, as "unfounded and outrageous."

Thullier has filed a motion challenging the suspension in court. 

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