Former high profile Sarnia gymnastics coach Dave Brubaker has been found not guilty of sex-related charges.
Justice Deborah Austin handed down her decision at the Sarnia courthouse Wednesday morning.
There was applause from the gallery in the courtroom and Brubaker hugged his wife when the verdict was given.
The 56-year-old Brubaker had pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual assault and invitation to sexual touching that were laid in December 2017.
The charges covered the period from 2000 to 2007 and related to a female gymnast who was under 16 during part of that time.
Brubaker’s lawyer, Patrick Ducharme, told reporters outside the courthouse that his client is relieved but there are more steps to take.
“Well, we try to clear his name in every respect. We deal with the authorities — we’re going to deal with Canadian authorities, we’re going to deal with the gymnastic authorities, we’re going to tell the police above the officer exactly what he did and why we think it’s improper,” said Ducharme. “And we’re going to see whether or not anybody has the courage to look at how [Mr. Brubaker’s] life was turned upside down, perhaps for an absolutely invalid reason.”
Judge Austin criticized the Sarnia police officer who took on the sole investigative role in the case when he had close family ties to the complainant.
Ducharme said the officer can’t pay back what he’s done to Mr. Brubaker.
“He’ll never give [Mr. Brubaker] an apology. Does he owe him an apology? He owes him a lot more than that,” said Ducharme. “I think we should do something about making a full and comprehensive report about this officer’s activities because I think it extended well beyond what he should’ve done, and I think the authorities should look at it.”
Gymnastics Canada issued a statement immediately after the verdict saying it will now conduct its own internal investigation under its code of ethics and discipline policies.
CEO Ian Moss was also at the courthouse and talked to reporters outside.
“When the criminal action proceeded, he was a member, so he was then suspended. Since then his membership has lapsed, so my understanding is he does not have any current membership in the organization at any level,” said Moss. “So the intent of the investigation is to ensure that he is unable to become a member again until we determine the outcome of the investigation.”
Brubaker coached gymnastics for 41 years, and was at Bluewater Gymnastics for 32 years. He is the former director of the Sarnia club, the former women’s national team director for Gymnastics Canada, and was the country’s head gymnastics coach at the Rio Olympics in 2016.