Alberta gym­nas­tics coach ar­rested on sex charges

Que­bec po­lice say al­le­ga­tions date back to 1980s-’90s and in­volve six women

Edmonton Journal - - CITY -

An Alberta-based gym­nas­tics coach is fac­ing sex­ual as­sault charges in Montreal dat­ing back to the 1980s and early ’90s, Que­bec pro­vin­cial po­lice said Wed­nes­day.

Michel Arse­nault was ar­rested in Ed­mon­ton by Que­bec de­tec­tives and lo­cal au­thor­i­ties.

A Que­bec pro­vin­cial po­lice spokes­woman said an ar­rest war­rant for Arse­nault iden­ti­fies six al­leged fe­male vic­tims and that Arse­nault faces seven charges, in­clud­ing four of as­sault and three of sex­ual as­sault.

Sgt. Au­drey-Anne Bilodeau said that the women were all be­tween the ages of 10 and 20 at the time of the al­leged crimes.

Arse­nault, 56, is ex­pected to ap­pear in a Montreal court­room on May 24.

Po­lice say he is free on a prom­ise to ap­pear in court but must re­spect cer­tain con­di­tions.

Bilodeau said all the al­leged crimes de­tailed in the ar­rest war­rant oc­curred in Montreal, and in­ves­ti­ga­tors have not ruled out other po­ten­tial al­leged vic­tims else­where in the prov­ince.

Last Jan­uary, Que­bec pro­vin­cial po­lice in­formed the pub­lic of the on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion with­out nam­ing a sus­pect.

Wed­nes­day ’s ar­rest comes after a re­port last De­cem­ber by the CBC’s French-lan­guage net­work, which brought some of the al­le­ga­tions to light from at least three women.

Fol­low­ing the Ra­dio-Canada broad­cast, Gym­nas­tics Canada an­nounced it had sus­pended Arse­nault, cit­ing the se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tions.

Around the same time, Cham­pi­ons Gym­nas­tics, the Ed­mon­ton gym founded by Arse­nault in 2002, barred him from the fa­cil­ity and said he would no longer be as­so­ci­ated with it.

Arse­nault has been liv­ing in Alberta since 1994.

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