A former senior gymnastics coach charged with sexual assault told his trial on Thursday that when he apologized for his "prosecutor's charge" he did not refer to sexual assault.
Dave Brubaker said that he wrote a letter expressing his regret of a former trainee because he had gone beyond the limits of a typical coach-athletic relationship by driving her to exercise and take her on family trips – but he did not insist on any of his behavior was sexual.
Brubaker, once the director of the women's national gymnastics team, has allegedly guilty of a number of sexual assault and a number of invitations for sexual contact by his judge-only trial in Sarnia, Ont. The charges relate to alleged incidents between 2000 and 2007.
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"Crossbreaks in sports are very clear," said Brubaker as he testified in his own defense and explained that he has taken courses in the case. "You do not run a child at school. You can not contact them outside the gym. You can not contact them on social media."
The complainant, who is now in the 30's, has testified that Brubaker would pick her up from school and take her to his house where he would occasionally happen to her in bed and wed her stomach before she drove her to practice.
"It never happened"
Brubaker refused the allegations and said that there would not have been a chance to lie in bed with the complainant because his wife was usually at home when he brought that teenage to their house.
"It never happened," he said.
He said that when he wrote the letter, which contained his apology – a note written when asked by the police – he did not refer to sexual abuse but to the family-like role he took in the complainant's life.
Brubaker said he felt compelled to write the letter by police officer who interviewed him at that time.
"[The officer] told me what to say. He told me what to write, "he said.
Video about Brubaker's police visit was allowed in evidence on Thursday. Its admissibility had been questioned when the court heard that the police officer's question about Brubaker, the only officer investigating the case, was related to the complainant at marriage.
The complainant also testified that Brubaker would kiss her on her lips to say hello and goodbye begins when she was 12 years old.
Brubaker acknowledged kissing the complainant on his lips, but denied that he had initiated the exercise.
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"I think it was just out of habit … that she started kissing me," he said, insisting that the kisses were innocent. "I do not come from a kissy family, so for me it's just part of the gymnastics culture. It's not something I need as a man."
Brubaker's wife, who also testified on Thursday, said that while the complainant was the only gymnast she and her husband kissed on their lips, they also kissed the gymnastic parents on their lips as a greeting.
Gymnast has also told the trial that Brubaker occasionally touched her unsuccessfully during sports massage – a claim that Brubaker was rejected.
He said that he would palpate the area where her upper thigh met her beauty area and the area around her chest to get into the pectoral muscles but maintained that it was all about improving her performance in the sport.
Massages "required" for success
An expert witness who testified earlier Thursday said sports massage like those administered by Brubaker was crucial to the success of gymnastics.
"It is required," said Ronald Weese, a sports physiologist specializing in training gymnastics coaches. "You can not get[tiletelitiveau[Herfraudenvægtpådesmåfineredetaljer'[toanelitelevel[Fromherewithoutanemphasisonthesmallfinerdetails"[tiletelitiveau[Herfraudenvægtpådesmåfineredetaljer'[toanelitelevel[ fromherewithoutanemphasisonthesmallfinerdetails”
Weese said that the muscles in these parts of the body are extremely important for gymnasts who use them as they split or lift themselves up. He also said that it is possible for an inexperienced sports therapist to touch the wrong part of the body in these massages.
"I'm sure the tie happens all the time, but the more expert you are, the less they appear," he said.
When we questioned the crown, Weese said it would be unusual for a coach to lie behind an athlete and rub her belly.
The krone and the defense are expected to deliver final arguments on Friday.