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Austrian ski federation fires trainer over sex attack claims

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

Vienna, Austria   /   Wed, October 24, 2018   /   11:54 pm
Austrian ski federation fires trainer over sex attack claims Winter Scenery at St. Anton Ski Resort, Arlberg, Austria (Shutterstock/Styve Reineck)

The Austrian Ski Federation (OeSV) on Wednesday announced it had fired a trainer who was accused in an article in the German Der Spiegel magazine of involvement in a gang rape.

The trainer, whose name and role were not specified, was employed by the federation years after the alleged incident and was never convicted over it, the OeSV said in a statement.

However after conducting internal inquiries, the federation identified the man and interviewed him about the allegations before deciding to terminate his employment.

"There are cases which can lapse legally but not in a moral sense," OeSV president Peter Schroecksnadel said in a statement.

"The OeSV has to set an example, we expect all of our employees and trainers to have a spotless record," he said, adding that the federation extended its sympathy to the victim of the alleged incident.

Since allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein sparked the global "#MeToo" movement last year, the world of Austrian skiing has been rocked by a number of claims of sexual assault.

In November 2017 former Olympic skier Nicola Spiess-Werdenigg came forward to say that she had been raped by a male team colleague in the 1970s, when she was 16.

Then in February, the German Sueddeutsche Zeitung published testimony from a member of Austria's World Cup team in the 1960s who said that former national trainer Charly Kahr had raped her.

Another former skier made other accusations against Kahr in the same article.

Abuse allegations have also emerged against Olympic champion Toni Sailer who died in 2009.

Prosecutors opened an investigation into the allegations against Kahr but it was closed due to the time that had elapsed since the alleged crimes.

The OeSV, which counts around 450 atheletes 200 staff and trainers in its ranks, has declared "zero tolerance" on sexual abuse while at the same time stressing the need for proof to back up any allegations.