Charges have been laid against a gymnastics coach after a 15-year-old girl told police in Peel Region that she was sexually assaulted.
In a news release issued Tuesday, police said investigators were contacted earlier this year by the teen who alleged she had been sexually assaulted over a four-year period.
On Friday, police issued a Canada-wide warrant for a suspect identified as Scott McFarlane. He turned himself in to police on Monday.
McFarlane has been charged with sexual assault, sexual interference, child luring under 16 years old, making sexually explicit material available to a person under 16, and indecent exposure to a person under 16.
None of the charges have been proven in court.
Suspect worked at gyms in GTA
McFarlane worked as a gymnastics coach in Peel Region, Oakville, Ottawa, and western Canada, according to police.
Kelly Manjak, owner of Manjak’s Gymnastics in Mississauga, told CP24 on Tuesday that McFarlane had been an employee at his gym for about four years up until his dismissal in October. Manjak did not specify why McFarlane was dismissed, however the CEO of Gymnastics Ontario told CP24 that it was related to the violation of a harassment policy as it pertained to social media. He said that the board of Gymnastics Ontario ultimately decided to suspend McFarlane for three months on Oct. 27 upon being notified of the circumstances of his dismissal.
McFarlane, however, began working at The Oakville Gymnastics Club prior to that suspension being levied. The CEO of that club, Wayne Hussey, told CP24 that McFarlane’s references were checked but nothing was uncovered to preclude him from being hired. Hussey said that McFarlane also passed a police background check. McFarlane ended up working at the club for about two weeks before taking a leave of absence from which he did not return.
“He went to Oakville gymnastics just prior to the suspension being invoked,” Gymnastics Ontario CEO Dave Sanford said.
Sanford said that everyone in the gymnastics community is “deeply saddened” by the allegations.
Investigators say that they believe there may be more victims and are asking anyone with information to contact the special victims unit at Peel Regional Police.
Meanwhile, Gymnastics Canada released a statement Tuesday, confirming that McFarlane has been “suspended indefinitely” in light of the allegations.
“Gymnastics Canada has a zero tolerance policy for any type of behaviour that puts the safety and well-being of our participants at risk,” Richard Crépin, chair of the board of directors at Gymnastics Canada, said in a written statement released Tuesday. “More than words though, it’s actions that count. Our top priority is building a safe environment for our participants by enhancing the policies and mechanisms we have in place so that our athletes and coaches are safe and secure and so parents feel confident that their children are safe. Our hearts go out to the victim in this case…”.