Former figure skating coach Gilles Beyer, accused of rape and sexual assault by several women, including multi-medal skater Sarah Abitbol, died at the age of 66, his lawyer announced on Saturday January 21, bvbconfirming information from The Obs.
Gilles Beyer, who was ” very sick “according to his lawyer, was at the center of a resounding scandal of sexual violence in figure skating.
In the book Such a long silence (Plon), published in January 2020, former figure skating champion Sarah Abitbol had accused her ex-trainer of repeated rape and sexual assault when she was between 15 and 17 years old, in the early 1990s. however, had not lodged a complaint, due to the statute of limitations.
In a written statement to AFP, Gilles Beyer had recognized “inappropriate intimate relationships” with Sarah Abitbol, presenting her with “apologies”.
“He leaves before being judged”
After these revelations, he had been indicted in January 2021 for “sexual assault by a person in authority” and “sexual harassment by a person in authority”, and placed under judicial supervision for more recent alleged acts.
” I am in shock “reacted Sarah Abitbol to The Obs. “He leaves before being judged, I would have liked there to be a trial”, she regretted. His death leads to the closure of the judicial investigation. “by extinction of public action”explained Gilles Beyer’s lawyer. “It’s crazy, this death comes just a week before my show, where I talk about this trauma, the liberation of my speech, my rebirth, and my return to the ice… God has decided so”also said Sarah Abitbol.
Sarah Abitbol’s book had led to other revelations. Several skaters had brought charges of sexual assault, sexual harassment or blackmail targeting Gilles Beyer or other coaches or former skating coaches.
Didier Gailhaguet, president for twenty years of the French Ice Sports Federation (FFSG), had been forced – after a long standoff – to resign at the beginning of February 2020. An administrative investigation then revealed suspicions weighing on twenty-one FFSG coaches.
“Many false things have been said and written about [Gilles Beyer] and I would have liked very much that he had the opportunity to express himself publicly”said his lawyer on Saturday.