A coach at Montreal’s National Circus school will remain behind bars over the weekend after his bail hearing was postponed.
Marcelo Berti Marques will have a pro forma hearing Monday morning.
Berti Marques, 44, was charged late Thursday afternoon with enticing a minor with sexual intentions, making explicit sexual material available to a minor, sexual luring and possessing child pornography.
The alleged victim is a 15-year-old boy.
The National Circus School said they terminated Marques’ employment with them as soon as it knew of his arrest.
Eric Langlois, the general manager of the school, said the Brazilian native started at the school in September 2016. The school says it didn’t receive any complaints about him.
“We were very surprised, it was a shock for all of us,” Langlois said.
“We are doing all the things that can be done internally to support students, parents and employees.”
The school has 150 children in its high school and CEGEP program.
The alleged victim and his mother spoke exclusively with Global News about what they say happened there.
‘Everyone thinks it’s a dream school’
The boy started attending the National Circus School in September 2016. He was 13 at the time, going into Grade 8.
When he was six, he saw his first Cirque de Soleil show and fell in love with the idea of being an acrobat. For years, he devoted himself to training and joining the school.
“It was amazing — all of my dreams felt like they were coming true,” he said.
The boy went through a rigorous audition process to secure a spot at the competitive school. His mother told Global News that he entered a highly competitive and toxic environment.
“They used to tell me I was very lazy. Fat. Not very smart, all sorts of negative things,” the boy said. “Everyone thinks it’s a dream school. You get there and you are treated so horribly.”
The mother said her son became depressed and suicidal. She claims the school didn’t want to engage in any dialogue with her concerning her son’s depression.
“He was so scared of losing his place at the school,” she said.
The mother pulled her son from the school in April 2017.
Messages over several months
The boy claims Berti Marques began texting him through Facebook Messenger a few months later.
In June 2017, the boy said the coach asked what he was doing and why he had left the school.
“Hearing someone from that same school that was beating you down saying you are amazing and attractive and all sorts of things,” he said.
“It was exactly what I wanted to hear.”
Global News has viewed the alleged texting exchange between the boy and Berti Marques over the course of several months.
The initial texts were extremely generic, but in April 2018, the texts started become more sexual in nature.
The texts suggests the coach asked the boy about his sexual preferences and about any previous sexual relationships.
The messages became sexually explicit, with the man allegedly exposing himself and asking the boy to masturbate on video conference.
The boy became overwhelmed and informed his mother, who went to police.
“I had a shower and started crying and I didn’t even know what to do anymore about the whole thing,” the boy said.
Potential victims asked to contact police
Montreal police say there could be more potential victims.
They say Berti Marques is six feet tall and weighs 149 pounds. He speaks French, Spanish and Portuguese.
Police are asking any potential victims or anyone with information can contact them by calling 911 or by visiting their local police station.