A judge sentenced Bertrand Charest to 12 years in prison for sexually assaulting young skiers who were under his supervision.
In stating the sentence, Friday morning at the courthouse in Saint-Jerome, Judge Sylvain Lépine described the alleged actions of the former ski coach of the national team as “inexcusable and criminals”.
Judge Lépine mentioned that this type of behavior is unacceptable in 2017, but that the actions made by Bertrand Charest were just as inexcusable in 1998 or in the 1950s.
He added that young victims were at an important stage of their development when the attacks occurred. Their adult life was shaped by the crimes committed by the accused, he gave up.
All but one of the victims, presumed to be victims, were under the age of 18 at the time of the crime. The youngest was only 12 years old.
Taking into account the time already spent in detention, Bertrand Charest will still have to stay seven years and 10 months behind bars.
Bertrand Charest’s lawyer, Antonio Cabral, said he would review the award in detail before deciding whether to appeal the decision. He has already said he is challenging the verdict of guilty in June.
“I’m a little surprised (by the length of the sentence), he said, he had instead asked for a term of imprisonment ranging from four to six years. “Twelve years is a sentence that is very important.”
Crown Attorney Marie-Nathalie Tremblay, for her part, was satisfied, since the sentence passed by the judge corresponds to the one she had requested with her colleague Caroline Lafleur.
“Of course, (the victims) are happy with the result, satisfied with the sentence, happy to have been heard and the judge has delivered the message that it can not be tolerated.”
Four of the victims were in the courtroom on Friday morning, while four others were listening to the judge through videoconferencing.
The accused, who did not testify at his trial, was acquitted of 18 counts and the judge concluded that the Court of Quebec did not have jurisdiction over two other counts related to events that would have taken place abroad.
Judge Lépine described Bertrand Charest as a “true predator” when he convicted him in June of charges involving nine of 12 plaintiffs who accused him of committing crimes about 20 years ago. years.
The 52-year-old man was charged with 57 counts, including sexual assault and sexual exploitation, as well as a charge of sexual assault causing bodily harm.
Several victims of the former coach testified about the impact of her actions last month, one of whom told the court that the accused had stolen her childhood and acted as a real predator.
Another tears told her that she lived today with “a sense of shame, guilt and disgust” following the many sexual assaults she suffered.
Some of the crimes occurred both before and during the years that Bertrand Charest took over the development of skiers at Alpine Canada between 1996 and 1998.
Alpine Canada blasted
In a statement sent after the verdict, Alpine Canada stated that the ruling recalled that abuse of power had no place in sport or in society in general.
Judge Lépine however lambasted the organization, Friday.
He wrote that Alpine Canada and its leaders have failed miserably in their roles as guardians and protectors of their young athletes.
Judge Lépine added that when the parents of these girls trusted them, they chose to close their eyes, not to believe the young victims and hide the truth.