Swimming Canada suspends coach facing charges
AJAX, Ont. – Swimming Canada suspended coach Matt Bell of Ajax, Ont., on Wednesday after being informed of several criminal charges he is facing.
Bell, the High Performance Coach and CEO of Ajax Swimming, is charged with sexual assault, sexual exploitation and four counts of luring a person under 18 years old.
Durham regional police say they launched an investigation in August after a teenage girl who was a member of the club alleged she’d been sexually assaulted in 2011.
“We have been informed of the charges and are taking all appropriate actions available to us,” said Swimming Canada CEO Ahmed El-Awadi in a statement. “We have suspended Mr. Bell from all swimming activities and interactions under Swimming Canada’s jurisdiction pending the outcome of the of criminal proceedings.”
Bell was part of Swimming Canada’s coaching staff at the 2015 FINA World Junior Championships and the recent Mid-Eastern World Cup Tour.
“Immediately upon becoming aware of the charges, we began the process of contacting athletes and parents who have had interactions with Mr. Bell in connection with Swimming Canada national teams, tours and programs, and we should have all notifications complete within the next 24 hours” El-Awadi said.
Swimming Canada also encouraged anyone with new information about this or any related incident to contact the Major Crime Sexual Assault Unit of Durham regional police or anonymously contact Durham Regional Crime Stoppers.
“Swimming Canada takes this situation very seriously,” said El-Awadi. “Anyone who wishes to come forward, either as a witness or a victim, is encouraged to do so. Ensuring a safe environment for all participants in our sport is our utmost priority.”
By The Canadian Press