3 women complained about coach’s inappropriate behaviour in April. Now he’s charged with sexual assault


Five months after three feminine athletes filed complaints about the inappropriate behaviour of their weightlifting coach, the identical man has been charged with the sexual assault of a special individual.

Isaac Smith, 33, was charged with sexual assault on Sept. 28. Those allegations haven’t been confirmed in court docket and CBC News was unable to achieve Smith for remark. 

The sexual assault is alleged to have occurred between Jan. 1 and June 24. 

CBC News spoke with two of the three women who filed complaints on April 21 to Weightlifting Nova Scotia, the group that facilitates entry to the game and organizes occasions in the province. The women allege their complaints weren’t taken significantly and say Smith shouldn’t have been allowed to proceed teaching whereas the investigation was underway. They say they got here ahead to guard different women from additional hurt. 

“What if he was suspended proper in April, proper when our grievance received filed?” stated Haley Warnica, one of many three authentic complainants. “Would which have modified something?”

Isaac Smith, 33, has been charged with sexual assault. He was beforehand suspended as a member of Weightlifting Nova Scotia. (Weightlifting Nova Scotia/Facebook)

In an announcement, Weightlifting Nova Scotia stated it employed an impartial investigator the day after it acquired the grievance however stated the investigation was “considerably delayed” because of circumstances past its management, with out offering additional element. 

The investigator discovered at the very least 30 violations of Weightlifting Nova Scotia’s code of ethics, starting from not fostering vanity amongst athletes, making unwelcome sexualized feedback and shaming athletes.

Unwanted touching allegations

Both Warnica, who educated with Smith for 3 years beginning in spring 2017, and complainant Jane Nicholson, who educated with him for seven years beginning in summer season 2015, at the moment are 26. 

In the report, and in interviews with CBC News, they stated Smith questioned them each day about their weight, monitored their social media posts, tried to regulate their diets, gave them the “silent therapy” after they did not pay attention, touched them inappropriately by placing his hand on their legs or rubbing their backs and made unwelcome feedback.

“He stated in entrance of a number of folks, ‘You know, you are skinny, however at the very least you did not lose your ass,'” Warnica stated.

“Say if we had been being ‘insane’ or one thing, he would say, ‘Oh, cool your tits.’ And that is clearly very disgusting in my opinion,” stated Nicholson.

Nicholson, 26, is asking for extra transparency in the case of how Weightlifting Nova Scotia shares data about sanctions with its membership. (Uncharted Media)

The investigator’s report states that the allegation was that Smith touched feminine athletes otherwise than he touched male athletes, however the investigator discovered there was no proof supplied that Smith touched any feminine athletes in a sexual method, nor in a way that was inappropriate.

Weightlifting Nova Scotia suspended Smith from all competitions, occasions, packages or initiatives for eight months. The suspension was retroactive to April 21, when the preliminary grievance was made, however as a result of the sanction was not launched till Aug.10, Smith was in a position to proceed attending occasions after April 21. He additionally continued teaching as a result of his personal enterprise is outdoors the purview of Weightlifting Nova Scotia. 

However, the group stated it acquired an extra grievance towards Smith on June 28, and it despatched an e-mail to its membership the next day to tell athletes it had “provisionally suspended Isaac Smith” underneath Section 32 of its code of conduct, which states that an “alleged incident is of such seriousness as to warrant speedy suspension of a person pending a ultimate choice.” 

The group stated it realized of the felony cost towards Smith on Oct. 3.

Its investigation into the June grievance has been delayed indefinitely as a result of ongoing felony continuing. This means Smith stays suspended. 

Weightlifting Nova Scotia Suspension

Furthermore, the provincial group notified Weightlifting Canada of the felony cost and it has imposed a provisional suspension on the nationwide stage, pending the result of an investigation. 

“How many occasions does somebody have to interrupt a code of conduct to truly be completely suspended?” Nicholson stated of the unique eight-month sanction. 

“In my thoughts, that is a slap on the wrist in comparison with the years of trauma that he has brought about us mentally.”

A discover of the unique investigation and sanction is posted on Weightlifting Nova Scotia’s web site. CBC News has reviewed a extra in-depth 13-page letter of findings, which was distributed to the complainants. Only Weightlifting Nova Scotia and the investigator have the whole report, which the group says is “personal and confidential” and won’t be shared with the general public. 

Weightlifting Nova Scotia has since up to date its web site to incorporate a hyperlink on the high, with the necessary message to members, about the sanctions towards Smith. (Weightlifting Nova Scotia)

The group additionally positioned two situations on Smith’s return to occasions following the unique investigation: firstly, that he present a letter from a registered psychological well being or human assets skilled confirming he had addressed the underlying points that led to his conduct after which that he present a letter outlining the work he had accomplished to grasp why and the way his conduct breached the group’s code of ethics. 

The investigator famous that Smith confirmed regret for his actions and stopped offering vitamin recommendation to athletes, referring them as an alternative to a vitamin coach — itemizing these issues as mitigating components in his favour.   

The report states that the chief physique of Weightlifting Nova Scotia “determined to supply Mr. Smith with a possibility to be taught from his errors and enhance his behaviour,” noting that the sanction was meant to replicate the investigator’s discovering that Smith has “rehabilitative potential.” 

WATCH | Investigation into N.S. weightlifting coach: 

Weightlifting coach charged with sexual assault confronted earlier complaints

Two feminine weightlifters in Nova Scotia say they raised crimson flags about a coach who has been charged with sexually assaulting a special girl. Weightlifting Nova Scotia suspended the coach, however the women say he ought to have been eliminated sooner.

The group declined to be interviewed, citing “confidentiality limitations” however shared an announcement and agreed to reply some questions in writing over e-mail. 

The data, shared on behalf of the all-volunteer Weightlifting Nova Scotia govt by Jacob Glover, the previous president and present vice-president of SafeSport & Culture, stated the group solely has the authority to self-discipline its members. It has no authority to forestall coaches from persevering with to coach athletes in a non-public enterprise. It neither regulates nor certifies coaches, however fairly it helps facilitate entry to the National Coaching Certification Program, which is run by the Coaching Association of Canada. 

Women name for transparency & help

Warnica and Nicholson are calling for extra transparency in the case of how the group shares data about sanctions with its membership.

“It’s buried on the web site. It’s underneath, like, a second tab, all the best way on the backside,” Nicholson stated. “There’s so lots of his athletes that continued to go to his gymnasium, not having any concept that all of us filed a report or that we put in complaints and he broke the code of conduct.” 

Weightlifting Nova Scotia has now up to date its web site to incorporate a crimson bar throughout the highest of the principle web page indicating the “necessary data for our membership.” It takes the customer on to the discover of sanction towards Smith.

Warnica and Nicholson additionally say insurance policies want to vary, notably in the case of providing help to athletes who complain about inappropriate behaviour or depart the game abruptly. 

Warnica, 26, says she filed a grievance towards her former coach as a result of she needs insurance policies to vary in order that she will inform different younger women weightlifting is a protected sport. (Eric Woolliscroft/CBC)

“There was a sample of feminine athletes leaving Isaac’s gymnasium, and really aggressive, excellent feminine athletes leaving. And [Nova Scotia Weightlifting] by no means did something about it,” stated Warnica. 

The group stated it’s taking steps to enhance its response in the case of supporting athletes who drop out with out warning however that it could not attain out to anybody concerned in a grievance throughout an ongoing investigation to keep away from any notion of bias.

Both women say they got here ahead as a result of they needed to proceed competing, however they now not felt protected being in the identical setting as Smith. They additionally need to shield different women. 

“I felt like we did our half in placing the grievance in in April,” stated Warnica. “But [Nova Scotia Weightlifting] did not do what they may.” 

In its assertion, the group stated it acknowledges that abuse in sport is a significant issue that requires a systemic and proactive response. It has a brand new board of administrators, elected Oct. 5, and stated it is going to “proceed to dedicate vital time and power to assembly with, listening to, and actively participating with the weightlifting neighborhood to grasp how one can stop abuse like this in the long run.” 

It has already carried out a brand new grievance and self-discipline coverage that requires impartial administration and adjudication of complaints, which implies the chief won’t resolve future punishments itself, because it did in the unique grievance towards Smith. 


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