Olympic champion and World Record holder Yannick Agnel has been indicted for rape and sexual assault of a minor.
Agnel was released from police custody on Saturday shortly before 8 P.M. to await trial.
Agnel was taken into custody on Thursday for questioning by police. On Friday morning, that custody was extended. This type of custody typically only lasts 48 hours, except in extreme cases, but Agnel’s lasted longer than that.
The Mulhouse prosecutor is planning a public press conference for Monday.
The arrest came after a preliminary investigation that was prompted by a complaint from a former teammate of Agnel’s at Mulhouse club, claiming that Agnel began sexual interactions with her when she was 13 years old and Agnel was 23. The alleged victim is no longer a minor.
Roxana Maracineanu, France’s Minister of Sport and the country’s first-ever World Champion in swimming when she won the world title in the 200 back in 1998, spoke on Saturday for the first time since Agnel’s arrest.
“I personally know the person who lodged the complaint, and you can imagine that this affects me,” Maracineanu said. “It is a process that must follow its course. The girl’s complaint is in the hands of the justice system and must proceed to the end. You know that this is a very important subject for me at the national level and is a fight that we are carrying out at the European level.”
Maracineanu has been a leader in an effort to combat abuse, rape and sexual assault of athletes in sport since taking a public role in a series of high profile cases including one in figure skating in 2020, and another related to soccer violence earlier this year. Earlier this year, Maracineanu created a platform for athletes to report adults who have abused them. She also led months of hearings after 400 French coaches, teachers, and other individuals were suspected of sexual abuse or helping to cover it up last year.
Agnel was a television commentator during the Tokyo Olympics on French TV. The French Swimming Federation, FFN, released a statement on Friday saying that they had no additional information of the case.
They also said that, because Agnel is no longer a licensed member of the federation, they have no jurisdiction to take up a disciplinary proceeding in the case and “therefore intends to leave the investigation to the courts.”
The 29-year-old Agnel announced his retirement after those 2016 Games.
Agnel won three medals at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, including a pair of golds in the men’s 200 freestyle and 400 free relay. He also anchored the French team to silver in the 800 free relay, and was a double gold medalist at the 2013 World Championships in the 200 free and 400 free relay.
Agnel is currently the world record holder in the men’s 400 freestyle in short course meters (3:32.25), and owns the fastest time ever recorded in a textile suit in the LCM 200 free from those 2012 Games (1:43.14).
Since retiring from the sport in 2016, Agnel has made some media appearances on French television and did coverage for the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games. He was also writing a column and participating in a podcast on the topic of E-Sports, but has been suspended from that role pending outcome of these proceedings.