French swim coach Alexis Pannier has been sentenced to 8 years in prison for the “rape and sexual assault” on a former swimmer between 2004 and 2008, when he was the coach of Circle Swimmers Braud-et-Saint-Louis.
According to France’s Sudouest.fr, Pannier, who is father to Olympian Anthony Pannier, the charge was for a relationship that started with a swimmer when she was only 14 years old. Pannier denies the charge, saying that the relationship began when she was 16 and a half – under French law, the age of consent is 15 years old.
French law still, however prohibits sexual relationships with minors aged 15, 16, or 17 when the elder is in a position of direct authority over the minor, according to French penal Article 227-27.
He was originally acquitted in April of 2012 after a long, four-year trial, on the above charge (specifically that she was over 15, but was in a position of authority, which would have been a much less severe crime.)
Upon appeal by the prosecution, however, it was taken down the path where the relationship began when the victim was 14.
Pannier married the victim’s mother, and when the victim turned 18 filed a complaint against the man who was her stepfather and coach. This happened in 2008, with the final sentencing not coming until the last week.