French officials identify over 400 sports figures suspected of sexual violence, covering it up

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French officials have identified over 400 people involved in sports in the country suspected of sexual violence or covering it up, The Associated Press reported.

France’s sports ministry released data from a year-long investigation that began after French figure skater Sarah Abitbol accused her coach of raping her as a teen, AP reported.

Ninety-six percent of those accused are men, according to the newswire. Eighty-three percent of the victims are women or girls and 63 percent of the victims were under the age of 15.

Sixty people have faced criminal proceedings, over 100 have been temporarily or permanently removed from their positions and local investigations are being conducted for other cases.

The alleged abuse includes sexual assault, harassment or violence, AP noted.

Abitbol alleged in February 2020 that she was raped by her coach, Gilles Beyer, from 1990-1992 as a teenager.

More skaters came out against Beyer and other coaches after Abitbol’s accusation, prompting Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu to take testimonies from athletes and conduct hearings for over a year, AP noted.

BBC News reported at the time that Beyer admitted to “intimate” and “inappropriate” relations with her, and said he was sorry.

Agence-France Presse reported in early January that the Paris public prosecutor’s office charged Beyer with “sexual assault by a person in authority and sexual harassment by a person in authority.”

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