Brazil Riot: Former Gymnastics Team Coach Sentenced to 109 Years in Prison for Raping Four Athletes

Fernando de Carvalho Lopes, former coach of the Brazilian gymnastics team, was sentenced to 109 years in prison for raping four athletes (EFE)

A shocking and scandalous case shakes Brazilian sport. Former coach of the Brazilian national gymnastics team, Fernando de Carvalho Lopeswas tried and sentenced on Tuesday to 109 years and eight months in prison after being found guilty of raping four athletesamong which there are at least a minor.

The former coach of the Brazilian gymnastics team was sentenced on Monday at first instance by a court in the city of Sao Bernardo do Camponear St.Paulas reported by the media Globe Sports.

Carvalho Lopes will appeal to court because is considered innocent of the charge which is imputed to him, so that he can wait for the call in complete freedom. The Brazilian coach was found guilty of sexually assaulting four athletes, one of whom was 13 at the time of the incidentexpanded the Brazilian newspaper, which did not specify the age of the other victims.

The situation of the accused is compromising and there is a wave of complaints against him: four years ago, 42 athletes claimed to have been victims of moral, physical or sexual abuse of the coach in a journalistic investigation of the show Fantastictelevision O’Globe.

Some of them participate in the legal process as witnesses to events that allegedly occurred between 1999 and 2016when Carvalho Lopes managed the MESC club of Sao Bernardo do Campo.

The coach has coached young gymnasts for two decades and was kicked out of the Brazilian national team a month before the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympicsafter the complaint of the parents of one of his alleged victims.

The man was part of the Brazilian representative’s working group between 2014 and 2016, when he was training Diego Hypolitosilver medalist in Rio, explained to the agency AFP a source from the Brazilian Gymnastics Confederation.

The Olympic athlete assured at the time that he was not the victim of abuse, but following the wave of stories, he supported the plaintiffs.

In April 2019, the The Superior Court of Sports Justice (STJD) disqualified Carvalho Lopes for life to engage in any sport-related activity. This first instance conviction confirms the aberrant events that have shaken Brazilian gymnastics in recent years.

Sex scandals in gymnastics around the world

The case of Carvalho Lopes is not an isolated sporting event and it is worth reviewing other events involving exceptional athletes.

In United States, larry nassarformer doctor for the national gymnastics team, was imprisoned for life for having sexually assaulted for at least two decades 265 top gymnastsincluding caption Simone Billes.

In Great Britain, Greece, Australia or New Zealand, there were more athletes who reported different types of abuse by coaches.

*With information from AFP

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