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Bertrand Charest used sex, threats and guilt to manipulate skiers, alleged victim testifies

Bertrand Charest is seen in a court drawing during a bail hearing, Monday, March 16, 2015 in St-Jerome, Que.

Mike McLaughlin/The Canadian Press

Ex-national ski coach Bertrand Charest used sex, threats and guilt to manipulate the athletes under his control, an alleged victim told his sex-assault trial Monday.

She said she realized when she landed on the national team in 1996 that Charest had alternating favourites.

Charest is facing 57 charges, including sexual assault and breach of trust, with 12 alleged victims between the ages of 12 and 19 at the time.

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Charest, 51, worked with Alpine Canada's women's development team between 1996 and 1998.

The woman testified that when she found out Charest was having a relationship with a teammate of hers, he convinced her he was actually in love with her and needed her help to leave the other girl.

The alleged victim, the fifth to testify since the trial began last Thursday, told the court they had their first sexual encounter in the toilet of a European hotel.

She testified Charest was going out with other girls and that he told her one was depressed and that another needed sex to ski faster.

"I was trapped," said the woman, who added Charest allegedly threatened to kill himself or to stop coaching her if she ended the relationship.

She also testified that skiing authorities did nothing to help her when the allegations erupted in 1998, advising her to stay silent in order to not lose sponsors.

Earlier in the day, the trial heard from another alleged victim who was coached by Charest when she was 13 and 14.

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Although she failed to make Charest's elite skiing team, she said she stayed in contact with him after that because she viewed him as a confidant.

She testified Charest kissed her on the lips when she was 16 and told her everything would be different if she were 18.

The woman also said Charest told her more than once he wished he could be her first lover and that it would be a memorable experience.

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