Everyday thousands of children are being sexually abused. You can stop the abuse of at least one child by simply praying. You can possibly stop the abuse of thousands of children by forwarding the link in First Time Visitor? by email, Twitter or Facebook to every Christian you know. Save a child or lots of children!!!! Do Something, please!

3:15 PM prayer in brief:
Pray for God to stop 1 child from being molested today.
Pray for God to stop 1 child molestation happening now.
Pray for God to rescue 1 child from sexual slavery.
Pray for God to save 1 girl from genital circumcision.
Pray for God to stop 1 girl from becoming a child-bride.
If you have the faith pray for 100 children rather than one.
Give Thanks. There is more to this prayer here

Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Many Disturbing Stories on Today's Global PnP List

Denizens keeping child sexual abuse under wraps in Hyderabad

Hyderabad: The child sexual abuse cases in the city remain under-reported even though the police conduct regular awareness programmes. According to the officials, during the last one and half year (from May 2016) cases which were related to Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO) were only 2,900. Amongst these only 9 cases were of boys and the remaining were girl victims.

Hyderabad Financial District

However, police officials feel that the cases remain under-reported even when the victim is a boy as the incident of crime could be higher vis-a-vis male child. “It is not that people living in slums do not report the incident because of lack of awareness, even in the case of economically well-off family, but due to fear of bad name. In many cases, the crime is committed by the person who is known to the child hence, it the reason there is lot of pressure not to reveal their names,” said Swati Lakra, City Additional Commissioner (Crimes & SIT). 

To ensure that cases of child sexual abuse are brought to the notice of authorities, the police officials are now working in close coordination with school authorities, Mission for Elimination of Poverty in Municipal Areas (MEPMA) and Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC).

In this regard, the police will conduct separate workshops with representatives of about 60 government schools and 180 officials of other departments by the end of this month. “As part of our outreach programme we shall be taking help of the field officials of these departments. In phased manner we shall continue the workshops,” added the official. 

It may be mentioned here that an 85-year-old retired railway employee was arrested on November 22 on charges of sexually harassing children. Parents and children revealed the matter of sexual assault to ‘SHE Teams’ at an awareness programme in a government school in Kapra. The police officials were informed that about six students were sexually harassed by the octogenarian and the police immediately swung into action and lodged a complaint in the local police station, which was followed by the octogenarian’s arrest.

Schools' warning to parents over "explicit video" of child sex abuse being shared on Snapchat and Instagram
By Kara O'Neill

Parents are being warned about sexually explicit videos of children being shared on Snapchat and Instagram (Image: Getty)

Schools are warning parents to check their children's phones after an explicit video showing child sex abuse circulated nationally on Snapchat and Instagram.

The "disturbing video" was said to contain "very explicit sexual imagery" and was shared by a fake social media account.

Cotham School in Bristol sent a text message to pupils' parents, warning that other schools in the city had reported pupils being sent the video.

It said: "It has come to our attention that a film containing very explicit sexual imagery involving children NOT KNOWN TO THE SCHOOL has been circulation among our students and those in other schools in the city today.

"Please check your child's phone. We understand it is via Instagram."

Daniel Norton, from Cheadle, in Stockport, has been charged with three counts of inciting a female aged 13-15 years to engage in sexual activity, as well as three counts of making an indecent photograph of a child and one count of distributing an indecent photograph of a child.

Police around the country have warned against sharing or viewing the video, which has also appeared on YouTube and Snapchat, saying people could be committing a crime if they do.

The 25-year-old was due to appear at Southampton Magistrates Court.

Southampton Magistrates court (Image: Google Images)

Hampshire police said officers were investigating and specialists have been supporting those involved.

A spokesman for the force said: "Officers would like to remind people that it is an offence to hold or share such content, and if you do receive images or video content, you should delete them immediately."

If you are concerned that a child you know has been a victim of online child sexual abuse, report directly to CEOP via the ClickCEOP reporting button – www.ceop.police.uk.

"You must delete it immediately": One school's letter to parents

We are aware of an explicit video involving a child which has been distributed via social media. This is currently under investigation by Hampshire Constabulary.

If you have received this explicit video on Snapchat, Instagram or by any other means you must delete it immediately.

If you show this video to someone else or forward it on to other people you could be committing a criminal offence, which the police may investigate and consider prosecution.

The people in the video have been identified and specialist police officers are supporting them to ensure their safety.

If you have any knowledge or relevant information related to who shared this video or how it was distributed, please contact Hampshire Constabulary on 101 as soon as possible.

Children who have been affected by this video are encouraged to speak to their parents, teachers or a trusted adult or can contact ChildLine on 0800 1111 for further support.

Further advice for both children and parents about how to stay safe online is available on the National Crime Agency’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) command website: https://www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre/

Pervert jailed after travelling to Luton
to meet child for sex 

A registered sex offender from Birmingham has been jailed for four years after travelling to Luton with the intention of meeting a child to sexually abuse them. 

Andrew Burnside, 46, from Holly Road, Handsworth, pleaded guilty to arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence and was sentenced at Luton Crown Court. 

He was issued with a seven-year extended sentence comprised of four years in jail and an additional three years on extended licence. He will also have to sign the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely. 

Burnside, a registered sex offender following a conviction last year of making indecent images of children, for which he was given a three-year community order, communicated with people over the internet and made plans to travel to Luton with the intention of abusing a child and a baby. Upon arrival in Luton, he was arrested and found in possession of children’s tights and a vibrating pen which had been adapted. 

Investigation Officer Amanda Dickson, from the Internet Child Abuse Investigation Team, said: “Burnside was a clear threat to the public and has a history of sexual abuse. “Although acknowledging that his behaviour was wrong, his actions were clear and he had to save money to make the trip to Luton, while lying to his partner about his plans. 

“We have a dedicated team committed to apprehending criminals, like Burnside, who use the internet to facilitate the abuse of children, and the sentence he received echoes how seriously this kind of offence is treated. 

“Online child sex abuse causes significant harm to the children involved and is likely to have a lasting impact on them. We continue to work hard to apprehend those who pose a risk to children through the internet and to root out anyone who intends to abuse children, before they can do so.” 

To report concerns of child sexual exploitation contact police on 101.

Nearly 200 people held in UK-wide online
child abuse operation

National Crime Agency says 245 children were saved from harm in October sting as it warns of danger of live streaming

Nearly 200 suspected paedophiles were arrested in one week, investigators have said, as they warned of a rise in the use of live streaming to sexually abuse children.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) said a UK-wide operation in October had saved 245 children from harm and 192 people were detained.

Nearly a third (30%) of the cases involved the most serious offences including live streaming, blackmail and grooming and 18 of those arrested were said to be in a position of trust, working in areas such as teaching, healthcare and criminal justice.

Police believe dangerous suspects are using live streaming to bombard their targets with comments, using dares, threats or the offer of rewards such as “game points”, to try to manipulate them into nudity on a webcam.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey, lead for child protection at the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), said: “We need internet companies to help us stop access to sexual abuse images and videos and prevent abuse happening on their platforms. We need parents and carers to talk to their children about healthy relationships and staying safe online.”

The NCA and NPCC launched a campaign on Tuesday to encourage parents to be alert to the dangers of live streaming and warn their children of the risks.

An online survey, answered by 927 people, found 84% said they were alert to the online threats children faced but 58% were unsure if their internet security was strong enough and 30% said they had not spoken to their child about web safety in the last month.

“We know that as children’s online habits change, offenders are adapting with them,” the NCA’s head of safeguarding, Zoe Hilton, said. “These individuals are learning how young people communicate online and are using this knowledge to contact, befriend and abuse them.

“It’s great to see that so many parents are aware of the potential dangers children face online, but with this campaign we’re asking them to make sure they familiarise themselves with their children’s online behaviour and keep that knowledge up to date.”

English Teacher at Top School in China Fired
Over Child Sexual Abuse Allegations
By Bryan Ke

Shanghai American School (SAS) alumni have penned an open letter to the school’s administrators responding to backlash over the sexual misconduct allegations made against high school English teacher James Mikkelson.

Haeryun Kang, a former student at SAS, one of the top international schools in China, posted the letter on her Facebook account to shed light on the matter, and was initiated partly “by the backlash and doubt aimed at the victim(s), whose stories are in ‘Survivors of James Mikkelson’ blog.”

The aim of the letter is twofold: it would help put pressure on SAS administrators to “take steps toward preventing Mikkelson’s hiring at other educational institutions,” and voice their support for the victims of the sexual abuse by the hands of Mikkelson, a veteran English teacher of the school who is believed to be from Washington state.

The movement and open letter comes weeks after an investigation conducted in November found that Mikkelson, who taught at the school for 13 years, showed inappropriate sexual behavior towards some of his students.

Investigators found porn in Mikkelson’s school computer as well as messages that he reportedly sent to students, Shanghaiist reported.

“I am writing to let you know that James Mikkelson, high school English instructor on the Puxi campus, will no longer be teaching at SAS. Due to choices Mr. Mikkelson has made that are inconsistent with SAS standards for integrity and professionalism, we have dismissed him, effective today. We recommend that students at SAS have no further contact with him,” Head of School, Marcel Gauthier, said in a letter to the parents.

Shortly after Mikkelson’s termination, a blog focusing on the survivors of his sexual misconduct was published online. There, some of Mikkelson’s former students shared their stories about how the teacher molested them, sent them extremely inappropriate sexual messages and explicit pictures.

“James Mikkelson sexually abused me while I was a minor.

“Soon after I became his student, Mikkelson initiated explicit conversations with me about sex. These conversations occurred in person as well as through text, email, and chat. They soon escalated to expressing sexual desire for me and describing sexual fantasies involving me. While talking explicitly with a child about sex is in fact sufficient to constitute child sexual abuse, the abuse did not stop there. Mikkelson groped me at a school event. He sent me explicit photos and videos of himself. He invited me to locations outside of school where, after coaxing me into a relaxed state with alcohol that he purchased, he coerced me into performing sexual acts on him. He touched me sexually behind the closed doors of his classroom, on school property, in the middle of the school day. He had sexual intercourse with me. I was his student. I was a child,” the creator of the blog wrote as a response to an SAS alumnus who expressed his doubt regarding the whole purpose of the blog.

The full text of the comment can be viewed here. Read the founder’s full story here.

The Survivors of James Mikkelson blog has received more than 60 comments since it launched in early November. More students came forward to tell their own story, but what’s even more surprising is that one of Mikkelson’s former co-workers from Italy also found the blog and said the following:

“I work with Mikkelson in Milan many years ago. He was made to resign after many female students complained about his inappropriate behavior. In Milan the parents wanted him put in jail. In China they do not think the same I guess. We hear about this in Italy and call things what they are. This man is a child molester. Nothing more needs saying.”

The SAS officially revoked Mikkelson’s China work visa after letting him go on Nov. 7, and shared all the information they gathered during the investigation to Chinese and United States authorities, a spokesperson from the school told Shanghaiist.

There is no official word yet on what other punishments Mikkelson will face for his sexual abuse crimes, but SAS said in a separate letter that it will offer counseling to the victims and review protocol involving the case.

“We recognize that if the allegations in the blog are true, then great harm has been done. “Know that we have done all we can to ensure that Mr. Mikkelson does not teach again and to warn our community against having contact with him. Our goal is to have a concrete plan in place and shared with the SAS community before our winter holiday break.

“We have certainly responded with great care to anyone who has written us on the topic of Mr. Mikkelson’s departure and invited them to share further. To date, no alumnus has come forward and identified themselves. We stand ready to support them if and when they do,” the head of school wrote.

Mikkelson removed almost all traces of himself from social media, including Twitter, LinkedIn and two Instagrams.

Man who carried out 'painful sexual abuse' of nephew, 13, twice a week for seven years is jailed

Ireland: An uncle who raped and sexually abused his teenage nephew over a period of seven years, and who claimed they were in a consensual relationship, has been jailed for 11 years.

The 47-year-old man, who cannot be named to preserve the anonymity of his victim, was convicted by a Central Criminal Court jury following a trial last May of 11 counts of rape, 10 counts of defilement, five counts of sexual assault and one of sexual exploitation of a child.

Abbeyshrule, Co. Longford

The offences occurred on dates between 2007 and 2014 in Co. Longford.

The court heard that the “painful sexual, physical and psychological abuse” took place two to three times a week, beginning when the boy was 13 years old, and continuing until he was 20.

A local sergeant told Alex Owens SC, prosecuting, that the offences took place in the defendant's bedroom at the victim's grandmother's house, in a car while parked at a farm gateway, and at places where both the accused and the victim were working together.

The court heard the accused first sexually abused the boy in his bedroom when the victim was staying over in his grandmother's house and there were no spare rooms available.

The sergeant said the defendant constantly texted and rang his nephew throughout his teenage years, always wanting to know where he was and who he was with.

"He exercised a great deal of control and manipulation over his victim," the sergeant said.

In a victim impact statement the 22-year-old described how his uncle mentally tortured him and rendered his teenage years “a sad blur, I cannot remember any happy time.

“I was trapped, I couldn't enjoy anything. I was too scared to tell anyone. I can't look at him; he makes me sick to my stomach.”

The man said he had attempted suicide numerous times but was now in a stable relationship and had a child.

Ronan Munro SC, defending, said his client continued to maintain his innocence, and said he had a romantic, consensual relationship with his nephew, beginning when the victim was 18-years-old.

He said the defendant regularly assisted those in need in the community and had a strong record of employment.

In sentencing, Mr Justice Paul McDermott said that the use of alcohol, cigarettes, cannabis and cash to buy the victim's silence amounted to blackmail and an abhorrent abuse of trust.

“His daily teenage life was dominated by his uncle who was a bully and a manipulator.”

Mr Justice McDermott said that due to his uncle's surveillance and interference, the victim did not pursue relationships with girls during his teenage years.

The defendant showed a callous indifference for his nephew's well-being,” he said.

He acknowledged that the probation services classed the defendant at a low risk of re-offending, but noted that during interview he was very guarded in relation to his past sexual history, and showed no insight into his wrongdoing.

Mr Justice McDermott said he had noted the defendant's lengthy employment history, the fact he only has one previous conviction for a minor offence, and testimonials stating he was a helpful member of his community.

“However, he did not enter a guilty plea, and has demonstrated a complete absence of remorse and shown no understanding of the damage he inflicted,” he said.

He sentenced the defendant to concurrent sentences totalling 11 years.

Mr Justice McDermott further directed that the man's name be entered onto the sex offenders register and undergo supervision by the probation services for five years upon his release.

Disgraced Anglican sex abuse bishop Peter Ball wants
to join Roman Catholic church
Kaya Burgess
The Times

A disgraced former Church of England bishop who was jailed for sex offences has said he wants to abandon Anglicanism and join the Catholic church so he can “worship in anonymity”.

Peter Ball, 85, the former Bishop of Lewes and Gloucester, was jailed for 32 months in October 2015 for abusing 18 teenagers and young men at his home in East Sussex, dating back to the 1970s.

A damning report by Dame Moira Gibb this year accused Church of England leaders of “colluding” with Ball to cover up his offences. The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey of Clifton, denied colluding in a cover-up, but resigned from his role as an honorary bishop over his handling of the case.

Ball was released in February this year after serving half his sentence and has now approached the Roman Catholic Diocese of Clifton, in Bristol, asking to be accepted as a Catholic worshipper. Catholic authorities will now discuss whether to accept him after examining the risk that Ball may pose.

Ball made the revelation inadvertently by accidentally sending a seasonal round-robin email to a BBC correspondent, in which he said that he and his identical twin brother, Michael, also a former bishop, had approached the Catholic church.

The email read: “Peter and Michael will not be sending Christmas cards this year. The events of the last years and rightly or wrongly the battering by the Church [of England] have totally wearied and reduced us.

“We will proabably [sic] be joining the Roman Catholic Church soon. We love the Church of England, but would like to end our days in a church where we can live and worship in anonymity and without constant fear.”

The Catholic Diocese of Arundel and Brighton said in a statement: “We confirm that Peter Ball has been in contact with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Clifton, in which diocese he now lives, expressing an interest in becoming a member of the Catholic Church.

“This matter is subject to discussions between Clifton Diocese and the statutory authorities, who are the lead with regards to Peter Ball’s risk management in the community.

“The Church of England authorities including their safeguarding team are aware of this request.”

Peter Saunders, a child abuse campaigner who founded NAPAC, a support charity, said: “It’s not surprising they are moving to another church. If the Catholic hierarchy welcome [Peter Ball] I hope they put in place every possible safeguard so that people know something about his background and he can never, ever pose a threat to children or young people again.”

He described the comment about taking a battering from the church as “flippant”.

Ball escaped justice in 1993 when he was given a police caution as part of a deal under which he resigned his ministry. Dame Moira’s report found that Lord Carey later restored Ball’s permission to take services and conduct confirmations. Lord Carey was accused of failing to pass six letters alleging serious sexual misconduct to police who were investigating Ball.

The Vatican said in 2009 that the Pope had approved a document called an “apostolic constitution”, allowing Anglicans to become Catholics while maintaining their own traditions. It would allow for the appointment of unmarried former Anglican priests as Catholic bishops to oversee converts who recognise the authority of the Pope.

Paedophiles are certainly welcome in the Catholic Church, as long as they aren't married!!!!???!!

Boy Catches Nuns Embracing - Is Beaten Black and Blue
Written by Hilary Duncanson

Scotland: A young boy was beaten "black and blue", as though he had been in a boxing match, after catching two nuns in an embrace, an inquiry has heard.

A man said he was six or seven when one of the nuns went "mental" and "ballistic" as she lashed out at him in a boiler-room at a care institution in the 1960s.

He told Scotland's child abuse inquiry that the "vicious" assault left him with bruises for weeks and with blood coming out of his ear and nose. He described the reaction as "exceptionally over the top" and said it left him feeling constantly threatened.

The witness, who cannot be identified, made the statements as he told the inquiry of his experiences at Smyllum Park orphanage (6th story on link) in Lanark, South Lanarkshire, which closed in the 1980s.

He said he moved to the orphanage, run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, in the mid-1960s, where he was never given any love, affection or praise from the nuns and staff members who ran it.

Physical abuse in the form of slaps and kicks was routine "for trivial stuff", he told the hearing in Edinburgh. 

The man recounted one incident in which he walked past a boiler-room and went through an open door to have a look inside. He said: "There were two nuns in there and one nun had her arms around the other one, at which point she turned around and gave me a right good hiding. I'm talking about punching, kicking, pulling my hair."

"I distinctly remember there was a boiler and it had a flame coming out of it, a flame thrower ... She put my face really close to that. I can still remember my hair getting singed, my eyelashes and the smell of singeing stayed with us for quite a while after that."

When he "woke up" from the attack, he had "blood coming from my ear, blood coming from my nose", the inquiry heard. For days after that, I was black and blue, like being in a boxing match actually."

He said he wondered for a long time what had caused the nun to be so "nasty" until he found out about one of television's first lesbian kisses on the soap Brookside. "She was obviously kissing another nun, that's what I think," he said.

Asked about the impact of the assault, he said: "It was terrible, it was horrendous, really bad. I felt threatened all the time, constantly on my toes, just always, always on guard."

He went on to describe another incident in which a staff member slapped him on the face and knocked him unconscious after catching him in an orchard.

He told how he was later moved to another institution in England. During his time there, he experienced sexual abuse at the hands of a trainee priest, the inquiry heard.

He told how the enforced move really affected him, having "robbed" him of his Scottish identity.

The witness said in an earlier statement that he hoped the inquiry would be "strong enough to take on the Catholic people".

He told the inquiry: "I'm telling you now, you will not beat them ... good luck."

One of the founding DJs of BBC Radio One
denies historic sex abuse
By Joseph Curtis For Mailonline

One of the founding DJs of BBC Radio One today denied sexually abusing an underage boy.

Chris Denning, 76, is said to have indecently assaulted a 14-year-old male on multiple occasions between March 1979 and March 1981.

He also took an indecent photo of the youth during the same period, it is alleged.

His co-accused, Graham Soper, 58, is said to have been the first to abuse the child, allegedly committing dozens of sex assaults at his home over a three-year period up until 1979 beginning when the youngster was just 11.

Prosecutors allege he passed the boy on to be molested by another man, who was also charged but has since committed suicide, before the victim was further passed on to Denning.

The pair appeared in the dock at Southwark Crown Court today where they were told a trial has been fixed for June 11 next year.

Denning denied two indecent assaults and one offence of taking indecent images of a child.

Soper entered not guilty pleas to four counts of indecent assaults, encompassing at least 60 instances of abuse, and one count of indecency with the same child.

Judge Stephen Robbin said: ‘This matter is now fixed for trial on June 11, 2018, with a time estimate of seven days. In the interim, both defendants remain on bail as before.’

Denning, of Collingwood Road, Basildon, Essex, denies two counts of indecent assault and one of taking indecent photos of a child and remains on technical unconditional bail.

The former DJ left his London grammar school aged 15 and began his radio career at Radio Moscow before taking up posts on Radio Luxembourg and Radio London.

By 1965 he was working as an announcer on BBC2 and he was the first voice when the TV channel started broadcasting. Denning was among a team of BBC disc jockeys who launched Radio 1 in the 1960s.

He was one of the first voices of the world-famous station and worked alongside household names including Tony Blackburn, Kenny Everett, Terry Wogan and John Peel.

The DJ also worked for record label Decca for two years and helped propel paedophile Gary Glitter and the Bay City Rollers to stardom.

Soper, of Livingston Road, Caterham, denies four counts of indecent assault and one of indecency with a child and was bailed.

They will both return to Southwark Crown Court for trial on June 11 next year. 

Southwark, London

Gymnastics Canada suspends coach Michel Arsenault over sex-abuse allegations

Gymnastics Canada has suspended an Edmonton-based coach amid allegations he sexually abused some of his former students.

An Edmonton gym has also barred Michel Arsenault from its premises because of the allegations.

The moves come after a report by the CBC's French-language network that Arsenault sexually abused at least three gymnasts in Quebec when they were minors in the 1980s and early '90s.

Three former gymnasts from Montreal have shared detailed accounts with Radio-Canada Sports of sexual abuse they say they suffered at the hands of their coach.

Michel Arsenault was relatively unknown in the gymnastics community when, at the age of 22, he joined Flipgym, a large community gym in Montreal, in 1983, although he has since made a name for himself as one of the best gymnastics coaches in Canada (one of his athletes competed at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona).

During his first year at Flipgym, gymnasts seemed to develop well under his guidance, but by his second year, things had changed. "All of a sudden, we came to training, and we couldn't call him Michel anymore. We had to call him Mr. Arsenault," said Linda, who was one of Arsenault's students at the time.

(Except for Monique St-Arnaud, Andrée Montreuil and Nadia Thivierge, the names of the women quoted in this story have been changed to protect their identity.)

"He started throwing fits, blaming us harshly as soon as we made even the slightest mistake. There was really a drastic change in his behaviour," said another ex-gymnast, Véronique.

Monique St-Arnaud, a coach who worked with Arsenault at the time, says she started finding some of her colleague's actions strange. She says he started asking the gymnasts sexually explicit questions that raised concern.

"One of my gymnasts told me there were questions she was uneasy answering," St-Arnaud said. "[He asked] if she had erotic dreams … if she touched herself sometimes, if she had sexual fantasies. My gymnasts were between the age of 12 and 16."

With some of the gymnasts, Arsenault allegedly went further than inappropriate comments. Three ex-athletes allege he sexually assaulted them when they were minors. Radio-Canada Sports has gathered their accounts below.

Still coaching in Edmonton

In 1993, Arsenault was fired from Flipgym. The president of the gym's board at the time, Serge Jeudy, says the reasons behind his firing included: "brutality, violence, insults, mockery. Putting down athletes, physical humiliation ... appearance of physical humiliation." Arsenault denied the accusations.

Six years prior to his firing, in 1987, Gymnastique Québec, the provincial gymnastics federation, suspended Arsenault from competition for a year for "behaviour problems towards coaches, officials," according to the federation's general manager, Serge Castonguay.

"He was allowed to teach in Quebec, in his club, but he couldn't represent Quebec as a manager or a coach," Castonguay said. "He was not allowed to manage a Quebec team in national or international competitions."

Arsenault left Quebec in 1994, settled in Alberta and got a job coaching gymnastics at a gym in Edmonton. In 2002, he and his wife opened their own gym, Champions Gymnastics, in Edmonton.

Arsenault did not respond to repeated requests for comment on this story, but late Wednesday, after the publication of the French-language version of this story, his Edmonton gym sent out a press release saying it was taking the allegations seriously.

"Moving forward, Mr. Arsenault will not be involved in any activities at Champions Gymnastics and will not be allowed on our premises," the release and a notice on the gym's website said.

'He wanted me to touch him'

Isabelle, who was one of Arsenault's gymnasts in the 1980s, recalled being touched by the coach when she was a minor. "I am reliving that moment. He touched me. He kissed me," she said. "At one point, I don't know why, I was topless. … Of course, he asked me not to tell anyone."

Isabelle alleges that when she was 15, Arsenault asked her to masturbate him.

"He wanted me to touch him," she said. "I didn't want to do anything. … He took my hand and forced me because I didn't want to do anything. We did it together. I don't know how to explain it."

Another gymnast who trained under Arsenault, Josée, gave Radio-Canada Sports a written account on condition that her identity would be protected.

"He gave an excuse about an athlete-and-coach meeting to empty himself on me, and he left me there, in his room, covered in semen. I cried, and I went home," Josée wrote.

According to the accounts of several former gymnasts, Arsenault started holding massage sessions in the dark in the dressing room. The gymnasts were paired up, but their coach also participated in the sessions with some of the athletes.

It is under those circumstances that, Linda alleges, Arsenault touched her in a sexual way. She was 14.

"When he gave me a massage, it was OK at first, but at one point, he always had one hand going too low or on parts I didn't necessarily want," she said. "I let him for a few seconds or minutes — I can't say [how long] because I froze.

"After that, I sat down, I curled up. Each time there were massages, I would manage to pair up with another girl so that he could not touch me."

Linda alleges Arsenault touched her genitals. Isabelle says she had a similar experience.

"I know that the treatment I was receiving, it was a really intimate treatment. Between the legs, words in my ear, it was … uncomfortable," she said.

Véronique says she remembers witnessing an event like the one Isabelle described in the gym's locker room. 

"I saw Michel crouched at the level of Isabelle's waist, and he literally had his hand in her leotard, in her backside," Véronique said. "She supposedly had back problems. All of a sudden, he improvised himself as a massage therapist, a physiotherapist or a chiropractor, I don't know. But he had a hand in the front and a hand in the back. He was kind of startled, and I continued to pack my bag, and when I left, our gaze crossed."

In the 1990s, a complaint was filed with Montreal police against Arsenault, but no charges were ever laid. Police would not comment on the complaint.

A marriage proposal

At age 16, Isabelle received a love letter from Arsenault, which Radio-Canada Sports has obtained. In the letter, her coach proposed to her and asked her to marry him when she reached the age of majority. In the assessment of one handwriting expert, the letter obtained by Radio-Canada matches Arsenault's handwriting.

Andrée Montreuil, a fellow coach at the time, says Arsenault confided in her.

"He asked to meet me. I didn't know what he wanted to talk to me about. We sat down in the office. He told me he had fallen in love with a gymnast, that he had fallen in love with Isabelle," Montreuil said.

Isabelle alleges she found an extreme way to get out of training and escape her coach's stares and touches.

"I caused problems on my body to avoid making up an excuse that would have been discarded," she said. "I hurt myself. I took a spoon — no one was around — I hit my wrists and ankles until they were blue and swollen. I thought it was the only way I could avoid that person."

Humiliation a part of training

Intimidation, humiliation and demeaning comments are said to have been part of the daily routine of the young girls Arsenault trained.

"There was a day my father just arrived at the gym. [Arsenault] told me, 'You're lucky your father is there because I would have slapped you.' That is when I realized he could really do it," said Sophie, one of Arsenault's former gymnasts.

"He called me an idiot, ugly, no good," recalled another, Linda.

"A lot of verbal violence: 'You are dumb. You are stupid. You are weak.' Everything he could say to put us down, forbidding us to be nice to another gymnast," said Nadia Thivierge, who was also trained by Arsenault.

Several athletes said they experienced physical violence under Arsenault.

"I was on the balance beam. I did not want to do certain moves. I was frozen, standing up, arms in the air, and I was crying," said Nathalie, one of Arsenault's former students. "At one point, he took the beam and raised it as high as he could, shaking it, and I fell down."

Thivierge described a similar experience.

"I remember I was working on the uneven bars. It wasn't going really well, and he was making me repeat and repeat," Thivierge said. "He was verbally abusive, mean, aggressive, demanding. I got mad and thought, this is over. I wasn't coming back to the gym.

"I took my stuff to go to the locker room. He took me out of the locker room, holding me by the shoulder and the neck. I almost didn't touch the ground. I listened to him then."

Caroline said physical violence was part of her experience under Arsenault.

"We got slapped around. I got kicked in the butt, slapped in the face. I got a good kick in the butt, not a small one," she said.

Nicole, the mother of one of Arsenault's former gymnasts, said parents were excluded from the training regimen at the gym.

"He asked that we put up curtains so that parents would not see their children training," she said. "But the reasons he gave for that was that someone could spy on the coaching methods. As parents, we had access to nothing, nothing at all."

Véronique said she and other gymnasts were reluctant to discuss Arsenault's behaviour at home.

"You start speaking less and less to your parents about what is going on in the gym because you feel that would be betraying the one who is going to bring you to an Olympic podium, the one who promises you you will live your little-girl dream," she said. "You then get a conflict of loyalty between him, who is acting like a master, a god, and your parents."

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