Quebec martial arts coach charged with 61 sex offences

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Global News at 5:30 Montreal: Jan 15
The Jan 15, 2024 edition of Global News at 5:30 on Global Montreal. – Jan 15, 2024

A 59-year-old martial arts coach appeared in court northeast of Montreal on Monday on more than 60 new alleged sexual offences involving minors.

Réal Chayer was charged at the courthouse in Joliette, Que., where he was ordered to be detained, provincial police said in a statement on Tuesday.

Chayer had been released on conditions after he was charged in May 2023 with sexual assault, sexual contact and incitement to contact.

Authorities say 61 new sex-related charges were laid against Chayer, of St-Lin-Laurentides, Que., for crimes that allegedly took place between July 2001 and December 2022.

According to Quebec’s business registry, Chayer is the owner of a martial arts academy in Repentigny, Que., east of Montreal.

Police say that as a coach, Chayer had authority over his alleged victims, who were boys from Laval, Repentigny, and the accused’s hometown in the Lanaudière region.

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Karate Quebec, the provincial body that oversees the sport, said in a statement Tuesday the accused was not affiliated with it. Karate Quebec offers a certification program for instructors and development seminars for the national coaching certification program for its 125 affiliated clubs.

“We strongly condemn any form of inappropriate behaviour and are determined to act with transparency and accountability,” said Karine Fournier, the federation’s director of operations.

The organization’s statement urged anyone who experiences harassment, abuse or assault while practising the sport to report it through the provincial Sport’Aide platform.

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