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Alpine Canada says it contacted the RCMP about ski coach Bertrand Charest

03/13/2015 11:30 EDT | Updated 05/13/2015 05:59 EDT
MONTREAL - Alpine Canada says it contacted the RCMP in 1998 about sexual-abuse complaints against a ski coach who now faces 47 criminal charges.

The organization said Friday it is not aware of the results of any RCMP investigation into Bertrand Charest.

Charest was arraigned in Quebec on Wednesday on 47 charges, including sexual assault and breach of trust involving eight females between the ages of 12 and 19. The alleged crimes occurred between 1991 and 1998.

A ninth alleged victim came forward Thursday.

In a statement, Alpine Canada wrote that Charest, 50, was a coach with its women's development team between 1996 and 1998.

It said it launched its own probe early in 1998 and then told Charest he was being removed as a coach.

"A few days later, while the matter was still under investigation, Mr. Charest resigned from his position," the statement read.

"ACA (Alpine Canada Alpin) was also in contact with the RCMP in 1998 regarding this matter and provided full co-operation to the RCMP in their investigation of the complaint. ACA is not aware of the results of the RCMP's investigation."

A request for information from the Mounties about whether they actually did look into the complaints against Charest was answered with a one-line statement.

"Only in the event that an investigation results in the laying of criminal charges would the RCMP confirm its investigation, the nature of any charges laid and the identity of the individual(s) involved," Sgt. Harold Pfleiderer said in an email.

Alpine Canada also stated "more than 15 years have passed since Mr. Charest was employed by Alpine Canada and all of the organization's management and board have since changed."

A receptionist who answered a call directed to Alpine Canada president Mark Rubinstein said the group does not have a list of names of those who were on the board in 1998.

She said ACA is required to keep documents going back only 10 years and said, "to my knowledge," the records of who was on the organization's 1998 board of directors do not exist.

Charest was expected back in court in Saint-Jerome on Friday but the case was put off until Monday when a bail hearing is scheduled.

No additional charges were laid Friday and all Crown prosecutor Marie-Nathalie Tremblay told reporters was that "if there are more charges then they will be filed."

The ninth woman to turn to authorities alleged she was sexually assaulted north of Montreal, said Mont-Tremblant police spokesman Eric Cadotte.

"We have reason to believe the majority of the (alleged) victims have come forward, but we think there could still be more," he said.

Mont-Tremblant police have said the alleged assaults took place north of Montreal and in France, Austria, New Zealand and the United States.

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