Bertrand Charest is seen on a court drawing during a bail hearing in St-Jerome, Que., on March 16, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike McLaughlin

Ski coach Bertrand Charest’s sentence for sexual abuse reduced

Appeal court judge: ‘His narcissistic personality is still present’

Former national ski coach Bertrand Charest has seen his sentence for sexually abusing young female skiers under his care reduced by 21 months on appeal.

Quebec’s Court of Appeal ruled Thursday that Charest’s 12-year sentence for sex-related offences on young skiers in the 1990s would be cut to 10 years and three months, setting aside 21 of the 37 counts on which he was initially found guilty.

Charest was convicted in June 2017, but he appealed both the verdict and the sentence handed down by Quebec court Judge Sylvain Lepine.

The Court of Appeal acquitted Charest on nine of the charges, two charges were stayed and one was set aside for lack of jurisdiction because the alleged crime occurred in another country. A conditional suspension was ordered on nine other counts.

His guilt was maintained on 16 other counts, and the Court of Appeal had harsh words for the former coach.

“There has been no dramatic change in the appellant (Charest) since the offences, but on the contrary, according to the evidence filed during the sentencing hearing, he continues to trivialize his conduct, to denigrate the plaintiffs and even wants to make some of them bear the responsibility for his actions,” Justice Francois Doyon wrote on behalf of the panel of three judges.

“His narcissistic personality is still present.”

Charest had complete sexual relations with some of the teenage victims while he was in a position of authority over them. One of them became pregnant, and Charest took her to have an abortion.

READ MORE: B.C. Olympic skier sues Alpine Canada after coach’s sex offences

Genevieve Simard, one of Charest’s victims who last year went to court to have a publication ban lifted so she could be identified, said Thursday she is satisfied with the ruling.

“I can at last bring an end to this chapter of my life, which has been long and very trying for me, my family and those close to me, and I think I can speak for the other girls as well,” Simard said in a written statement.

She praised the courage of the athletes for coming forward and expressed the hope that the sentence given Charest would influence future cases.

“The reduction of the sentence is not at all what I retain,” she said. “What I retain is the 10 years and three months, a significant sentence that will have a major impact on future sexual assault cases in the country.”

After taking into consideration his pre-trial detention, Charest will have four years and nine months left to serve, according to the appeal decision.

Stephanie Marin, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Kootenay SPCA hopes you’ll have a heart for Cupid

Cat who tangled with a bobcat seeking a permanent home

New ‘hub’ model takes regional approach to doctor recruitment in West Kootenay

Kootenay-Boundary a provincial leader in effectively attracting doctors to work here

Painting Ourselves Visible group to create mural

A new partnership between Kootenay Gallery of Art and Castlegar Pride

Castlegar Skating Club prepares for regional championships

Watch local skaters on March 11 at 4:30 p.m.

Castlegar council develops policy for question period

Questions must pertain to current agenda items and issues or items of interest to the general public

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

Cheapest in B.C.: Penticton gas prices dip below $1 per litre

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

‘A horror show:’ Ex-employee shares experience at problematic Chilliwack seniors’ home

Workers are paid below industry standard at all Retirement Concepts facilities

Forest industry protests northern B.C. caribou protection deal

B.C. Mining Association supports federal-Indigenous plan

Youth-led report calls on B.C. government to create plan to end youth homelessness

There are no dedicated programs for youth homelessness at federal, provincial level, report says

Trudeau: Time for blockades to end and Indigenous leaders to work with government

Prime minister says situation in Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute is ‘unacceptable and untenable’

RCMP clarifies stance on removing officers from Wet’suwet’en territory in northern B.C.

Police say will remove officers only if hereditary chiefs keep road open to pipeline workers

Most Read