The National Post / The Canadian Press
Police conduct was called into question after it emerged the investigating officer made the complainant the godmother of his newborn child
SARNIA, Ont. — A former high-ranking gymnastics coach has been found not guilty of sexual assault and sexual exploitation.
Justice Deborah Austin handed down the decision for Dave Brubaker in a Sarnia, Ont., courtroom today.
Brubaker, the former head coach of the women’s national team, was accused of sexually assaulting a young gymnast years ago.
At the beginning of the trial in October, the woman who is now in her 30s testified that Brubaker would kiss her on the lips to say hello and goodbye starting when she was 12 years old.
She also said he touched her inappropriately during sports massages and spooned her in bed while taking naps before practice — allegations Brubaker strongly denied.
He told the court that while he did kiss the complainant on the lips, it was meant as a fatherly gesture and not a sexual one.
He also said he never took naps with the young woman, and that the massages he gave her were necessary to alleviate the aches, pains and injury that come with being a gymnast at an advanced level.
Brubaker’s lawyer, Patrick Ducharme, argued that the young woman was bitter because she didn’t make it to the Olympics, unlike some others Brubaker coached.
Upon Brubaker’s arrest in December 2017, he was placed on administrative leave by Gymnastics Canada.
The investigation into Brubaker and the police interview following his arrest were called into question during the trial after it was revealed that the sole police officer investigating the coach was related to the complainant.
Over the course of the investigation, the officer made the complainant the godmother of his newborn child. Ducharme argued that this compromised the probe, and said video of a police interview should not be allowed into evidence.
In the video, Brubaker was seen writing a letter of apology to the complainant, another young gymnast he used to coach, and his wife.
The judge decided the video was admissable, but said she would be cautious when considering it as evidence.
Ducharme suggested that the officer fed the complainant allegations to bring against Brubaker.