March 24, 2023

A former star figure skating coach who attacked a teenager who admired him 40 years ago has finally been convicted, as the now adult victim looks on.

“I hope this will send a message to all survivors. The passage of time does not erase the acts committed in the past, and it does not affect the reliability of the testimonies, “commented Wednesday Me Amélie Rivard of the Crown, just after Richard Gauthier was found guilty of gross indecency and sexual assault.

Gauthier, 61, remained unmoved by this verdict, which could earn him prison even if his crimes were committed in the 1980s.

At the time, he lashed out at a 14-year-old teenager he was coaching, who held him in high esteem given the coach’s elite credentials.

“Due to the behavior of the accused [le plaignant] suffered serious psychological harm,” noted Judge Josée Bélanger, recalling the authority that Gauthier had over his victim.

Not credible

The acts alleged against Gauthier included having bathed naked with the victim, having taken showers where they washed together and having slept naked, in a spoon, with the victim.

Testifying in his defence, Gauthier had denied having committed any crime, but in vain.

“He wanted to give a watered down version. It is neither credible nor reliable, ”said the magistrate.

After analyzing all of the evidence, however, she acquitted him of indecent assault.

Gauthier will return to court shortly for sentencing. But beyond this case, the Crown wants this case to help inspire all victims to come forward, even though years have passed.

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