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Teen ‘Sexually Abused by Baton Team Coach’

A teenage member of a baton twirling team was allegedly sexually abused by his male instructor several times this spring, it has been learned.

The teenager’s family filed a police report after he spoke to them about the incidents. The coach in question resigned from the team and association and left the country while still in talks with the teenager’s family about the situation.

Traumatized, the teenager became unable to go to practice, saying he suffers from flashbacks to the assault.

In response to the teenager coming forward with the incidents, the Tokyo-based Baton Twirling Association of Japan, the governing body of the nation’s baton teams, in July established a third-party investigative committee comprising of three lawyers to probe the allegations. Based on the findings of the investigation, the association this month suspended its then president for a year and the manager of the team for six months from membership. They were unable to discipline the coach as he already resigned.

 According to the report by the committee, the teenager was subjected to indecent acts on multiple occasions at the coach’s home, and was unable to refuse out of fear of angering the coach.

The team manager initially apologized to the teenager and his family, but following the coach’s resignation, refused to deal with the matter, saying, “It happened in private, and I have nothing to talk to him about as he already left [the association].”

The then president of the association also stopped consulting with the teenager, reportedly saying that they could not do anything about it. The president resigned from the post in June.

In its report, the committee condemned the coach’s conduct as “extremely irresponsible” and criticized the response of the association, describing it as “offensive and hurtful to the victim.”

The report also said it is only reasonable for the former president to be suspected of trying to cover up the incident.

“I’m very sorry to the athlete and his family. We want to sincerely work toward a solution and continue to thoroughly educate our instructors,” Keiko Uchida, the association’s president, told The Yomiuri Shimbun.