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Trial for former Canadian Olympic taekwondo coach facing sexual assault charges begins

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WATCH: The trial for an Olympic taekwondo coach facing disturbing allegations of sexually assaulting two of his former teenage students has begun. As Caryn Lieberman reports, court heard from one of the alleged victims who described incidents over the course of several years – Oct 20, 2020

Warning: This story contains details that may be distressing to some readers. Discretion is advised. 

A former Taekwondo Canada coach charged with sexually assaulting two of his teen students over the course of several years pleaded not guilty on the first day of trial.

Shin Wook Lim, 46, of Woodbridge, Ont., faces 15 counts related to allegations of sexual assault taking place between 2013 and 2017.

A publication ban has been put in place to protect the identity of the first witness to testify.

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Correction regarding earlier version of broadcast story – Oct 30, 2020

She described her training with Coach Lim, and the text messages she began to receive from the man, whom she called “sir.”

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The former student said the messages took on a more personal tone at one point.

A text shown in court said, “I said I would like to massage you,” after which, the student, noted, Lim would tell her to delete his messages.

Lim is well known internationally in the taekwondo world, and has an extensive history with the Canadian Olympic team.

Read more: Toronto-area Taekwondo coach faces additional charges in sexual assault investigation

He was an official coach at both the 2008 and 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

Lim also worked at Black Belt World in downtown Toronto, where the first alleged victim met him.

She testified that the training was strict.

“We were either shunned or ridiculed in front of everyone if we didn’t show up” she said, adding “There was unwritten rule that we, especially girls, were not supposed to date. Boys were seen as a distraction.”

Read more: Toronto Taekwondo teacher arrested in alleged sex assault on girl may have B.C. ties: RCMP

She described an incident in the office at Black Belt World, in May 2015, when she alleged Lim hugged and kissed her.

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She said it made her “feel uncomfortable” but claimed that he told her “we have to be close to have a connection in the ring.”

In Muju, South Korea while attending training the summer she turned 16, the witness said, “he put me on the bed and then at that point he started kissing me and going further down.”

She told court “I was completely frozen.”

The witness said Lim asked her, “why are you making me feel like a monster .. this is not for me, this is for you.”

In another incident, also on a trip to South Korea, the witness alleges Lim raped her. She was 17 at the time.

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But she testified that she did not tell anyone about what had happened for years.

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“I thought this was something I would take to my grave .. how could I tell anyone no one would understand,” she said.

Eventually, the witness testified she told a friend, and then her mother, finally reporting it to police in April 2018.

“It’s really tough unpacking everything again,” she told court, as the Crown completed the examination in chief.