Woman testifies ex-gymnastics coach kissed her on the lips when she was 12
Published Tuesday, October 23, 2018 6:48AM EDT Last Updated Tuesday, October 23, 2018 5:27PM EDT
The sexual assault trial of a former gymnastics coach heard Tuesday from a woman who testified that the man controlled every aspect of her life when she was training with him as a teenager.
The woman, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, told the court that Dave Brubaker would routinely kiss her on the lips to say hello and goodbye, starting when she was 12 years old.
"I would say that at the time, Dave had full control over everything -- what time I went to bed, what I ate, how I did my hair," she said. "Whatever he said, went. I had full trust in him."
The woman, who is now in her 30s, said Brubaker would pick her up from school, and take her to his house where he occasionally would spoon her in bed and tickle her belly, before driving her to practice. She told the court that she feared the coach would punish her in the gym if she denied his advances.
Brubaker, 55, pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of sexual exploitation, related to the alleged incidents involving the teenaged gymnast between 2000 and 2007.
He was initially charged with 10 sexual offences last December and was placed on administrative leave by Gymnastics Canada, where he had served as director of the women's national team, but the number of charges were reduced Tuesday at the beginning of the trial.
The woman, who was the first witness to testify, alleged the spooning incidents started when she was in high school and continued until she quit gymnastics at 19.
"I remember feeling like bugs were crawling under my skin," she told the court. "I was very uncomfortable. And sick to my stomach."
She levelled other allegations against Brubaker in court, saying that he would regularly massage her body to relieve her of soreness. Sometimes, she told the court, those massages made her uncomfortable, like when Brubaker would massage her upper thigh, under her underwear.
Several times, he massaged around her pubic area, she said. On other instances, he would touch her buttocks while hugging her goodbye.
Brubaker's defence lawyer, Patrick Ducharme, noted that the woman could not remember which hand his client used to touch her buttocks. He also noted that the officer who investigated Brubaker was related to the woman, and was the best man in her wedding.
The charges against Brubaker, who was Canada's head gymnastics coach at the 2016 Rio Olympics, came at a watershed moment for gymnastics in Canada.
Earlier that month, Gymnastics Canada suspended Edmonton-based coach Michel Arsenault over allegations that he sexually abused at least three gymnasts in Quebec when they were minors in the 1980s and early '90s.
And in January, a Mississauga, Ont.-based gymnastics coach was charged with multiple offences related to allegations that he sexually abused a 15-year-old girl over a four-year period.