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Rape accusation in figure skating shakes French sport

Credit: Reuters - Sports
Published 2 weeks ago - Duration: 00:36s

Rape accusation in figure skating shakes French sport

President of the French Ice Sports Federation Didier Gailhaguet refuses to resign.

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Rape accusation in figure skating shakes French sport

PARIS, FRANCE (FEBRUARY 5, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1.

PRESIDENT OF FRENCH ICE SPORTS FEDERATION, DIDIER GAILHAGUET, ARRIVING AT NEWS CONFERENCE 2.

(SOUNDBITE) (French) PRESIDENT OF FRENCH ICE SPORTS FEDERATION, DIDIER GAILHAGUET, SAYING: "I'm appalled faced with the sad reality of women's lives shattered, changed forever because of bastards who took advantage of their innocence.

There are no words to describe my disgust.

That said, that dark side does not represent the federation." STORY: Historic allegations of sexual assault in figure skating, including the rape of a former national pairs champion, have shaken the world of French sport, leading to a battle between the boss of the ice sports federation and a government minister.

In a book published last week Sarah Abitbol, a ten times French doubles champion who won bronze at the World Championships in 2000 with partner Stephane Bernadis, accused her former coach of raping her when she was 15.

She said she was assaulted several times between 1990 and 1992 - a period now outside the statue of limitations -- and the Paris prosecutor has opened an investigation.

Three other skaters also claimed they were raped by former coaches.

French sports minister Roxana Maracineanu has called on the president of the French Ice Sports Federation Didier Gailhaguet, in post for more than 20 years, to stand down.

But speaking on Wednesday (February 5) afternoon Gailhaguet refused to resign saying his reputation and that of the federation had been damaged but that he was not at fault.

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