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A Turkish national fencing team coach has been jailed pending trial for sexually abusing a 15-year-old national athlete, daily Hürriyet’s columnist Ayşe Arman reported on May 8.
Speaking to Arman before the first hearing on May 11, the father of the girl, who remains anonymous, said the defendant had not just abused his daughter for years now but had assaulted other young girls too.
“[My daughter] has awards; she has attained international success. But lately she turned in on herself. We were thinking it was due to adolescence. But the reality was she was being subjected to her coach’s sexual abuse and harassment for three years. And we have just found out. My daughter told us this in tears,” said the 43-year-old father, identified only by the initials A.U.
On May 11, three national fencing athletes will sit in the dock of a court as witnesses.
“I hope this dirt gets a heavy punishment,” said the father, who lives in the Alanya district of the Mediterranean province of Antalya.
The father said his 15-year-old used to love fencing, but had lately begun “finding it painful” to go to her trainings.
But after hearing that the coach had been at the center of a string of sexual abuse claims in the past, the family asked their daughter what she thought about the allegations.
The 15-year-old at first refused to speak about it but later broke down and told her parents her coach had touched her body, held sexually explicit conversations with her, made her take part in “disgusting videos,” and kissed her on the neck and lips without her consent.
The family then filed a complaint against him, prompting authorities to detain him. But he was later released pending trial. The family then wrote to the Presidency, Prime Ministry and the Family and Social Policies Ministry. Following the family’s action, authorities launched an administrative investigation into the coach, suspending him from the national fencing team.
The family then filed a complaint to the Alanya prosecutor’s office, leading to the suspect to be detained again and jailed pending trial.
It was at that point phone calls started to pour in from the suspect’s former students, who told the girl’s parents they, too, had “gone through the same experiences.” “Your daughter is not alone. We will also stand as witnesses in the court,” they reportedly told the family.
“Those who want to sit in the witness chair are girls who are now in universities studying law. They also filed complaints and gave their testimonies, and our files have merged. We have a hearing on Friday [May 11],” the father said.