Athletics Canada calls allegations of sexual relationship between coach, under-age athlete "deeply disturbing"

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — Athletics Canada says the allegations of a sexual relationship between a former national track and field coach and an under-age athlete in a newspaper report are "deeply disturbing."

The statement came on Saturday hours after The Globe and Mail published a story detailing the alleged affair between former University of Guelph track and field coach Dave Scott-Thomas and former student-athlete Megan Brown.

The University of Guelph fired Scott-Thomas on Dec. 16 for unprofessional conduct.

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Scott-Thomas was also a coach on 16 Canadian national teams, including the 2016 Rio Olympics and the 2015 and '17 world track and field championships.

In a Jan. 9 statement on the school's news website, the university said it received a complaint in 2006 from a family member of a student athlete, and while an investigation didn't substantiate all of the allegations, it determined some misconduct had occurred and Scott-Thomas was suspended for four weeks.

The university received a complaint from another student athlete about Scott-Thomas this past fall, and again retained an independent external investigator. Scott-Thomas was placed on paid lead pending the outcome.

During that investigation, the university received new information that "made it clear that Scott-Thomas had lied repeatedly in 2006 about several significant matters."

Scott-Thomas was fired as a result of that new information. The university said that had it been aware of this information in 2006, it "would have terminated its relationship with Scott-Thomas at that time."

Attempts by The Canadian Press to reach Scott-Thomas were unsuccessful.

On Saturday, Athletics Canada issued its statement clarifying its position in the wake of The Globe and Mail's article in which Brown alleges Scott-Thomas "groomed her as a 17-year-old for a sexual relationship."

The Globe and Mail story says that Scott-Thomas first met Brown, now 35, when she was 16 and recruited her for university after an OFSAA victory in 2001.

"After learning of these allegations from the University of Guelph's investigation in late 2019/early 2020, Athletics Canada initiated a complaint into Mr. Scott-Thomas with its independent Commissioner's Office," read the statement. "At the time the Athletics Canada complaint was initiated, the independent Commissioner's Office provisionally suspended Mr. Scott-Thomas pending the outcome of the investigation."

Athletics Canada noted that no complaint had been made directly to the national organizing body or its independent commissioner's office.

Scott-Thomas led the Guelph Gryphons to 37 national titles in cross-country and track and field, and earned U Sports coach of the year in the two disciplines 35 times.

He was also the head coach of the Speed River Track and Field Club, of which numerous Olympians have been members. The club announced in January it was ceasing operations.

In its statement, the university said it was saddened to learn that student athletes had unacceptable experiences, and "we offer an apology to those who endured suffering and hardship."

 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 8, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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