Bertrand Charest is seen on a court drawing during a bail hearing in St-Jerome, Que., on March 16, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike McLaughlin

Ski coach Bertrand Charest’s sentence for sexual abuse reduced

Appeal court judge: ‘His narcissistic personality is still present’

Former national ski coach Bertrand Charest has seen his sentence for sexually abusing young female skiers under his care reduced by 21 months on appeal.

Quebec’s Court of Appeal ruled Thursday that Charest’s 12-year sentence for sex-related offences on young skiers in the 1990s would be cut to 10 years and three months, setting aside 21 of the 37 counts on which he was initially found guilty.

Charest was convicted in June 2017, but he appealed both the verdict and the sentence handed down by Quebec court Judge Sylvain Lepine.

The Court of Appeal acquitted Charest on nine of the charges, two charges were stayed and one was set aside for lack of jurisdiction because the alleged crime occurred in another country. A conditional suspension was ordered on nine other counts.

His guilt was maintained on 16 other counts, and the Court of Appeal had harsh words for the former coach.

“There has been no dramatic change in the appellant (Charest) since the offences, but on the contrary, according to the evidence filed during the sentencing hearing, he continues to trivialize his conduct, to denigrate the plaintiffs and even wants to make some of them bear the responsibility for his actions,” Justice Francois Doyon wrote on behalf of the panel of three judges.

“His narcissistic personality is still present.”

Charest had complete sexual relations with some of the teenage victims while he was in a position of authority over them. One of them became pregnant, and Charest took her to have an abortion.

READ MORE: B.C. Olympic skier sues Alpine Canada after coach’s sex offences

Genevieve Simard, one of Charest’s victims who last year went to court to have a publication ban lifted so she could be identified, said Thursday she is satisfied with the ruling.

“I can at last bring an end to this chapter of my life, which has been long and very trying for me, my family and those close to me, and I think I can speak for the other girls as well,” Simard said in a written statement.

She praised the courage of the athletes for coming forward and expressed the hope that the sentence given Charest would influence future cases.

“The reduction of the sentence is not at all what I retain,” she said. “What I retain is the 10 years and three months, a significant sentence that will have a major impact on future sexual assault cases in the country.”

After taking into consideration his pre-trial detention, Charest will have four years and nine months left to serve, according to the appeal decision.

Stephanie Marin, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

LETTER: Keeping Canada-U.S. borders closed is issue of safety, not bigotry

Only walls Trump deserves come in a set of four, and are found in a prison or institution: Reader

LETTER: CERB is simply worsening overdose issues in Maple Ridge

Taxpayer money is going to help buy more drugs and increase cases of death on local streets: Reader

Ridge Meadows Soccer welcomes former Whitecaps coach to club

Craig Dalrymple will join organization as new sporting director

Problems delay opening of sheets at Planet Ice Maple Ridge

Getting hold of parts, making repairs mean rinks won’t be available until January: facilities manager

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Most Read