Canadian gymnastics coach charged with sexual assault

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian police said on Tuesday that they charged a Toronto-area gymnastics instructor with sexual assault and other offences against a teenage girl who he was coaching.

Police in Peel, Ontario, said they charged Scott McFarlane, 28, with sexual assault, sexual interference, child luring, indecent exposure and making sexually explicit material available to a person under 16.

Reuters was unable to reach McFarlane for comment on the charges, which were filed Monday, or identify his attorney.

Canadian police last month arrested another gymnastics coach, David Brubaker, in Sarnia, Ontario, charging him with sexual assault and nine other charges.

The cases surfaced amid widespread publicity in Canada over the trial of long-time USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, which ended this month with him being sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for abusing young gymnasts entrusted to his care.

McFarlane is charged with committing sex crimes over a four-year period against the victim, whose name was withheld and who is now 15 years old, police said in a statement. Investigators believe there may be more victims or witnesses.

Gymnastics Canada, a national governing body for the sport, said that McFarlane had been banned from coaching gymnastics.

It vowed to revise policies on background checks and other areas to better protect athletes.

“Our hearts go out to the victim in this case, and we want her, and the rest of our community to know that we will not rest until this type of behavior no longer finds a home in the sport of gymnastics,” Gymnastics Canada Chair Richard Crépin said in a statement.

An independent investigator is expected to soon launch a probe into how USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee failed to stop Nassar.

Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny in Toronto; Editing by Jim Finkle