French former ice skating coach charged with sexual assault: judicial source

Paris (AFP) –

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A former elite French figure skating coach, Gilles Beyer, has been charged with sexual assault following accusations from at least six women skaters or former skaters, according to a judicial source.

Beyer is at the centre of a scandal that convulsed the sport in France last year after a former world championships medallist, Sarah Abitbol, made accusations against him in a book.

Abitbol accused Beyer, her coach, of repeatedly sexually assaulting her when she was aged between 15 and 17 in the early 1990s. Her book led to several other skaters coming forward.

In a statement to AFP in January last year, Beyer admitted having an "intimate relationship" with Abitbol, which he said was "inappropriate".