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Gymnastics coach who worked in Kingston, Ont. facing sexual assault charges

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Gymnastics coach who worked in Kingston, Ont. facing sexual assault charges
27 year old Benjamin Cooper has 20 charges levied against him by Ottawa Police – Feb 16, 2023

Investigators with the Ottawa police say they are concerned there may be more victims in Ottawa and Kingston after an investigation led to sexual assault charges for a coach who worked for Gymnastics Ontario.

Police say the assaults involve seven people and are asking anyone with information to contact them.

Investigators say 27-year-old Benjamin Cooper of Toronto is charged with sexual offences that allegedly occurred between 2014 and 2022.

They say the girls were between 14 and 17 years old and the alleged offences took place in the Ottawa and Kingston, Ont., areas.

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Police say the coach worked for Gymnastics Ontario from 2014 to 2021, and the alleged offences took place while he was coaching and after hours.

They say he was arrested on Wednesday and his charges include six counts of sexual assault and two counts of sexual interference with a person under 16.

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Global News has been able to determine that Cooper was hired at Kingston’s Trillium Gymnastics Club in 2019 through a since-deleted Facebook post. In the post, the club said it was excited to have Cooper join their staff.

So far, attempts to contact the club have not been successful.

The news, however, is not a surprise to the CEO of Gymnastics Ontario.

“On April 11th, 2022, we notified both the complainants and Mr. Cooper that complaints have been brought against him and that we would be initiating an investigation on those allegations that we had received,” Dave Sanford said in an interview with Global News.

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He says it wasn’t long after their investigation was launched that Ottawa police became involved with an investigation of their own, but adds he wasn’t aware of how serious the allegations were until they became public Wednesday.

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“This is just another, you know, punch to the gut to both gymnastics Ontario. Our board of directors, our member clubs, to the coaches and obviously to the families and the participants, because it just it impacts so many people,” Sanford said.

— with files from the Canadian Press

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