Ski coach fondled breasts to humiliate her, witness tells Bertrand Charest trial

Former ski coach Bertrand Charest pinned a young girl down on a bed and fondled her breasts in order to humiliate her on a European trip during the 1994-95 season, a witness told his sex assault trial Monday.

The woman told the court other people were around when Charest played with her teammate's breasts and commented how they weren't firm enough.

"We were all laughing,'' she said, except for the young girl allegedly being abused. "We didn't realize what was happening. She was telling him to stop.''

Charest is on trial on 57 charges, including sexual assault and breach of trust, in relation to 12 alleged victims between the ages of 12 and 19.

The witness said she was on the ski team for two years, beginning in the 1993-94 season, when she was 15.

She said Charest, who is now 51, never physically abused her but had degrading and humiliating nicknames for her and others on the team.

"I didn't like him,'' she said. "I didn't feel comfortable in his presence.''

She said she left the team when she was 16 and decided to focus on her studies.

After the first part of her testimony, the Crown played a home video taken mostly by Charest during the two-month trip to Europe in 1994-95.

The video was provided to the court by the witness.

Most of the footage is from January and February 1995, during which time Charest filmed the ski students on the slopes.

Part of the footage includes video of the apartment the team shared, with Charest videotaping the bedrooms of the apartment as well as the young woman he allegedly fondled. She refuses to look at the camera.

Charest's trial began March 2 and is expected to continue until the end of the month.