Aussie Olympic flagbearer banned for sex with minor

An Australian Winter Olympics flagbearer has been banned in the United States for sexual misconduct involving a minor.

Brendan Kerry, a triple Olympian figure skater who was Australia's joint flagbearer at the Beijing Winter Games in 2022, has been permanently banned by the US Center for SafeSport.

Kerry, who won seven consecutive Australian figure skating titles from 2013, provided alcohol to and had sexual intercourse with a then 16- or 17-year-old figure skater in the US in 2016 and 2017, ESPN reported.

ESPN cited a confidential summary of an investigation into Kerry by SafeSport, the US Olympic movement's sexual misconduct watchdog.

SafeSport also investigated an allegation Kerry forced a second skater into non-consensual sex at a party in 2016, but found insufficient evidence to prove that claim.

Kerry's ban, which ESPN said could be subject to appeal, only applies in the US, where SafeSport has jurisdiction.

The sanctions ban Kerry from any event or activity controlled by the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

Kerry was a registered coach with US Figure Skating in the 2016-17 season when the misconduct was alleged to have occurred.

According to SafeSport's summary cited by ESPN, Kerry "admitted to engaging in a sexual relationship with Claimant 1 for an unknown period of time beginning in or around September 2016 when she was 17 years old".

Kerry said he was unaware the claimant was too young to provide consent for sexual acts.

The claimant described being "pinned down" and telling Kerry "no" on at least one occasion, according to SafeSport's report - an allegation Kerry denied to investigators.

ESPN said the claimant also spoke to police about Kerry but decided, in 2021, not to press criminal charges.

The Australian Olympic Committee and Ice Skating Australia (ISA) were both unaware of the SafeSport investigation until the sanction was released on Wednesday, Australian time.

"ISA is deeply committed to the safety and wellbeing of all athletes and considers this matter to be of the utmost seriousness," an ISA statement said.

"We are in the process of gathering and considering all information available in relation to the determination by the US Center for SafeSport."

Kerry won eight Australian figure skating titles, including seven in a row, and competed at the Winter Olympics in 2014, 2018 and 2022.

The now 29-year-old retired after the Beijing Games two years ago when he recorded his best Olympic finish, 17th. He placed 29th in 2014 and 20th in 2018.

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