The world of Argentine sports continues to be shocked to its core as accusations of child abuse continue to surface.
Amid the ongoing scandal uncovered as a result of the revelation about the existence of an alleged pedophile ring targeting minors playing for Independiente football club’s academy and three cases of child abuse concerning teenagers representing River Plate between 2004 and 2011, the media reported yesterday that a coach from the national gymnastics team has now also been accused of sexual abuse.
The accusation was made about a month ago – before the Independiente scandal exploded in the news – after a former member of the national team broke down in tears in a reunion with his teammates and revealed what happened to him during in the 90s. He also said he knew of more cases happening there.
The suspect is 62-year-old Alejandro Sagreras, who until last month worked coordinating the coaches of the different national gymnastics teams. He was removed from his post, at least until the investigation is carried out. Sagreras came out to speak publicly this morning, where he “emphatically” denied all accusations.
The charges were formally pressed by Gerardo Werthein, President of the Argentine Olympic Committee (COA). He called for an investigation to find out whether the allegedly abused athletes were minors at the time of the events. According to specialized news site Olímpicos Argentinos, eight former athletes revealed that they “experienced delicate intimate situations,” and three of them said they were minors at the time of the abuse.
The article goes on to say that – according one of its sources – Sagrera targeted children with low self-esteem and/or who did not have a father figure. “He was extremely smart, in the sense that he waited for them to be of age [to engage]. However, the seduction started when they were teenagers. And, in general, he made sure they stayed silent by giving them jobs in the world of gymnastics,” the source said.
The officials in charge of the investigation, Federal Judge Sebastián Ramos and Prosecutor Guillermo Marijuán, have already conducted the first probes: they gathered statements from the people who attended the meeting in which the former athlete revealed the abuse, and requested a list with the names of all the minors who were coached by Sagreras during his tenure at the Gymnastics team, between 1986 and 2013.
The case is being investigated by the federal justice because he was a state worker.