French athletics coach suspended in sexual harassment probe

For nearly three weeks, French sport has been plunged into a deepening crisis with the multiplication of sexual abuse scandals, notably in figure skating.

The suspect, an unnamed coach and club manager, was suspended from sports-related activities on 4 January. (REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE)   -  GETTY IMAGES

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, multiple sources said on Tuesday.

For nearly three weeks, French sport has been plunged into a deepening crisis with the multiplication of sexual abuse scandals, notably in figure skating.

READ | France's ice skating chief resigns over sex abuse scandal

In the latest case, police in Saint-Germain-en-Laye just outside the capital, have launched a preliminary investigation into the local athletics club covering a period from September 2004 to December of last year.

Police are probing allegations of sexual harassment and rape committed on a minor over 15 years old, judicial sources told AFP.

The suspect, an unnamed coach and club manager, was suspended from sports-related activities on 4 January by the prefecture, the office which represents the central government in the Yvelines department west of Paris.

The investigation began on December 30 and has involved interviews with several club members, according to the sources.

The coach’s lawyer, Charles Thuillier, told AFP the suspect has not yet been interviewed by police. He said the suspension was “unfounded and outrageous” and he had already filed a motion challenging it in court.

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