Alberta gymnastics coach facing sexual assault charges

MONTREAL — An Alberta-based gymnastics coach is facing sexual assault charges in Montreal dating back to the 1980s and early ’90s, Quebec provincial police said Wednesday.

Michel Arsenault was arrested in Edmonton by Quebec detectives and local authorities.

A Quebec provincial police spokeswoman said an arrest warrant for Arsenault identifies six alleged female victims and that Arsenault faces seven charges, including four of assault and three of sexual assault.

Sgt. Audrey-Anne Bilodeau said the women were all between 10 and 20 at the time of the alleged crimes.

Arsenault, 56, is expected to appear in a Montreal courtroom May 24.

Police say he is free on a promise to appear in court but must respect certain conditions.

Bilodeau said all the alleged crimes detailed in the arrest warrant occurred in Montreal, and investigators have not ruled out other potential alleged victims elsewhere in the province.

Last January, Quebec provincial police informed the public of the ongoing investigation without naming a suspect.

Wednesday’s arrest comes after a report last December by the CBC’s French-language network, which brought some of the allegations to light from at least three women.

Following the Radio-Canada broadcast, Gymnastics Canada announced it had suspended Arsenault, citing the serious allegations.

Around the same time, Champions Gymnastics, the Edmonton gym founded by Arsenault in 2002, barred him from the facility and said he would no longer be associated with it.

Arsenault has been living in Alberta since 1994.

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