“Concerned”, the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) announced the launch of an administrative investigation after the stay of proceedings against the former trainer Michel Arsenault, Thursday, while he was accused of sexual crimes and assault. done towards minor gymnasts.
• Read also: Stay of proceedings in the Michel Arsenault case: “it’s disappointing”
• Read also: Stay of proceedings in the case of ex-trainer Michel Arsenault
“The Sûreté du Québec has taken note of the decision rendered yesterday and is greatly concerned by this situation. Being aware of the seriousness of the acts committed and the impact on the lives of the victims, it will ensure that all the procedures surrounding the conduct of this investigation will be the subject of an exhaustive analysis, ”explained the SQ via press release, Friday afternoon.
Michel Arsenault, 59, was accused of sexually assaulting two underage athletes and assaulting four others. On Thursday, the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions obtained a stay of proceedings because of “major shortcomings” in the method of an investigator: the latter had not taken notes during interviews with the complainants, during which they would have described the actions that their ex-coach would have committed towards them.
“Information revealed […] demonstrate major deficiencies in the note taking of the investigator in the file, explained the Crown prosecutor, Me Rachelle Pitre, Thursday. They make many of the complainants’ statements forever inaccessible. ”
The lawyers for Mr. Arsenault had argued that “The police carried out a botched investigation, collecting only the evidence that was consistent with their theory of events and thus deliberately failing to keep all the evidence obtained.”
The decision to abandon the case created an outcry among advocacy groups for victims of sexual assault, and even had an echo as far as Quebec.
“The Michel Arsenault affair has troubled us and unfortunately still raises many questions about the work of the police in sexual assault cases,” said Jean Rousselle, spokesperson for the Liberal Party of Quebec in matters of public security. This is why we are asking the Minister of Public Security, Ms. Geneviève Guilbault, to shed light on the police investigation in this file. ”
“Since we want to prevent other situations of this type from recurring, we also ask the minister to remind the police forces in the province of the best practices to adopt in cases of sexual assault, to ensure that dedicated teams are in place and that they are adequately trained to do this work, ”he added.