A veteran junior hockey coach has been charged with sexual assault and assault in Saskatchewan, CBC Information has discovered, following a grievance from a former participant.
Bernie Lynch, who has coached throughout Canada, the U.S. and Europe for greater than 4 many years, turned himself into police in Devon, Alta., over the weekend after the Regina Police Service issued a warrant for his arrest on April 30. He faces one rely every of sexual assault and assault, courting again to August 1988. The complainant was 17 on the time.
The Regina Police Service confirmed that the 66-year-old stays in custody and shall be transferred to Regina as a part of its ongoing investigation.
Lynch can be the topic of one other police investigation in Edson, Alta., the place he coached the Junior A Aeros within the Western States Hockey League (WSHL) through the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons. A latest CBC Information investigation detailed allegations of abusive behaviour made by dad and mom and gamers, and issues over an in depth and probably inappropriate relationship with a participant.
In earlier communications with CBC Information, Lynch has mentioned he’s “shocked” by all the allegations “which have surfaced over the previous months,” describing them as a “smear marketing campaign.”
In March, CBC Information reported that Lynch had been suspended from his job in Ontario teaching the Junior A Fort Frances Lakers of the cross-border Superior Worldwide Junior Hockey League (SIJHL), shortly after New 12 months’s for sending what the workforce referred to as “inappropriate” texts and emails to one in every of his gamers.
‘Sort of bizarre’
The participant instructed CBC Information that Lynch sought to watch and management his behaviour, sending as much as 50 unsolicited and undesirable messages in a single day.
“He would get mad if I did not textual content him again straight away,” mentioned the 20-year-old participant. “He would get mad even after video games — like, we would finish at 9 or 10 and I would wish to go hang around with my teammates.”
CBC Information granted his request for confidentiality due to issues that he would face repercussions within the hockey world.
“He’d all the time be like, ‘Why do not you simply come hang around with me?’ Like, ‘We’ll have enjoyable and watch a film,'” he mentioned. “Sort of bizarre.”
A few of the messages despatched from Lynch’s cellphone had been supportive. Others sounded romantic.
“The very last thing I consider after I fall asleep at evening and the very first thing I consider after I get up is you … All the time your buddy and passionately lacking you. Thanks and I like you,” one learn.
The Lakers fired Lynch on March 9, simply days after that report.
The Regina prices observe the latest reopening of a long-dormant investigation.
In accordance with a civil courtroom motion that Lynch launched in 2000, Saskatchewan RCMP started investigating him in 1997, after receiving an nameless tip Lynch had had “inappropriate and sexual involvement” with a participant nearly a decade earlier.
Suspended from teaching
A parallel investigation was launched by the Regina Police Service that fall, and later expanded to look at allegations about Lynch’s conduct whereas he was coach of the Regina Pat Canadians, a AAA Midget under-18 workforce, through the 1997-98 season.
No prices had been laid on the time, however Hockey Regina, the native governing physique, suspended Lynch from teaching for greater than three years. He was reinstated after his 2000 civil go well with, beneath the proviso that he wasn’t allowed to be alone with the gamers.
WATCH | Suspended for inappropriate messages:
Lynch, who beforehand held high-profile jobs with the Humboldt Broncos and Regina Pats, returned to skilled teaching in 2005, taking a job with the Minot State College Beavers in North Dakota.
Beginning in 2007, Lynch spent the higher a part of a decade teaching youth groups in Norway, Sweden, the Czech Republic and Denmark.
The Swedish newspaper Expressen lately printed an article concerning the veteran coach’s time behind the bench for a workforce in Huddinge, a Stockholm suburb, a tenure that ended with controversy and complaints in 2014.
Lynch was dismissed after receiving a prolonged suspension for threatening a referee. However one mum or dad instructed the paper that there have been different elements at play, together with bullying behaviour and undesirable and inappropriate textual content messages to a 15-year-old participant.
“I found that Bernie had began texting my son within the evenings,” the mom, whose id is being shielded by Expressen, instructed the newspaper. “I reacted instantly and requested why the coach was writing to him. Lastly, I took his cellphone and checked the historical past. I could not consider my eyes.”
One message, particularly, raised issues.
“Reply your cellphone … Pump runking,” Lynch wrote, misspelling a Swedish phrase for masturbation. “I can hear you all the way in which over right here … Give it a relaxation.”
The paper mentioned it reached out to Lynch concerning the allegations however that he didn’t reply.