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Bertrand Charest, former national ski coach jailed for sex abuse, granted parole

Bertrand Charest is seen on a court drawing during a bail hearing, on March 16, 2015 in St-Jerome, Quebec.
Bertrand Charest is seen on a court drawing during a bail hearing, on March 16, 2015 in St-Jerome, Quebec. Mike McLaughlin/The Canadian Press

Former national ski coach Bertrand Charest, who was jailed for sexually abusing young female skiers under his care, has been granted full parole.

The Parole Board of Canada says in a recent decision that Charest is considered a low risk to reoffend.

Commissioners wrote that full parole was available to Charest, 54, because the risk of recidivism was low and his release wouldn’t create an unacceptable risk for society.

READ MORE: Former national ski coach Bertrand Charest will not appeal conviction

Charest was initially convicted in 2017 and sentenced to 12 years behind bars for various sex crimes against young skiers under his care — including minors — in the 1990s.

Last August, the Quebec Court of Appeal dropped 21 of the 37 convictions and reduced his sentence to 57 months, from the date of conviction. Most offenders are eligible for full parole after serving one-third of their sentence.

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The Appeal Court ruling said that the former coach had showed no dramatic change since the offences, noting that at his sentencing Charest had continued to trivialize his conduct.

READ MORE: Sentence for ski coach Bertrand Charest lowered by 21 months on appeal

Last October, Charest, dropped a further appeal of his case and agreed to serve his sentence.

Charest’s lawyer said at the time the decision not to pursue the matter further had to do with the potential future impact on eventual parole.

Commissioners said in a 10-page written decision released March 31 that they took a look at the entire case file, including written submissions from Charest expressing remorse to his victims for his actions.

Geneviève Simard speaks out about abuse under ex ski coach
Geneviève Simard speaks out about abuse under ex ski coach

He is forbidden from contacting any of his victims and their families, something the ruling noted Charest had agreed to.

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He is not allowed to be in the company of girls under the age of 18 without another adult supervising or to accept any type of work that would put him in authority over minors.

Charest will also be required to inform authorities of any relationships he has with adults who have children under the age of 18.