Sex assault trial to begin in Ontario for former high-ranking gymnastics coach

The sexual assault trial of a former gymnastics coach has heard 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, says Dave Brubaker would routinely kiss her on the lips to say hello and goodbye, starting when she was 12 years old.

Brubaker, 55, has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of invitation to sexual touching 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 today.

The woman testified Brubaker would pick her up from school, take her to his house where he would spoon her in bed and tickle her belly before driving her to practice.

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.

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