Former owner and high performance coach of Ajax Swimming, Matt Bell, was sentenced to seven months in jail for the sexual exploitation of a former teenage athlete.
Bell pled guilty to sexual exploitation and luring in late August after admitting in court that he had had sexual contact with the victim on multiple occasions and exchanged several sexually charged texts with the victim between 2010 and 2011. During that time the victim was 16 and Bell was 30.
During today’s sentencing Ontario Court Justice John Adamson said, “Nothing I do here will bring back [her] innocence. It sounds like much of the joy of her high school and university years was devoured by this crime.”
The victim, now in her 20s, came forward to the Durham Police last year, reporting the abuse.
Bell’s sentencing falls short of the 2 years minus one day sentencing that prosecutors asked for and closer to the four to six months Bell’s defense attorney asked for.
Bell’s jail time will be followed by two years of probation and he will be on the national sex offender registry for life.
While Swimming Canada suspended Bell at the time the initial charges were brought forward and thus far there has been nothing provided by Swimming Canada suggesting the suspension has been lifted, there has been no news as to whether he is officially banned by Swimming Canada.
In Ontario, where Bell was previously coaching, he would not be able to meet the requirements for the Coach Compliance List which lists all coaches deemed eligible to be on deck at sanctioned competition. In order to be on the list, a coach needs to be able to pass a Police Vulnerable Sector Check, which he would not.