A gymnastics coach in Kaohsiung surnamed Liang (梁) was yesterday sentenced to six years and 10 months in prison by the Kaohsiung District Court for forcing a student to have sex with him and another student to commit obscene acts.
In a post in the Facebook group Baoliao Gongshe (爆料公社) in early 2018, a female student said that years ago she had been sexually assaulted by a gymnastics coach at an elementary school in Kaohsiung.
The student said she had known Liang since elementary school, but the sexual assault began when she was in junior-high school, adding that Liang used his power to find opportunities to abuse her on multiple occasions.
Photo: Fang Chih-hsien, Taipei Times
She said she decided to speak out after seeing the spread of the #MeToo movement to US gymnastics, with former USA Gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar convicted of sexually assaulting hundreds of women.
Gymnastics had been her favorite sport, the student wrote, but she now hated it the most and hated the coach.
During an investigation, several other female students came forward and accused Liang of sexual assault, but only four of them filed a lawsuit.
The Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office charged Liang with forced sexual intercourse and forced obscenity.
However, the statute of limitations had expired for many of the allegations, many of which were also difficult to prove, the court said, adding that it made a ruling based on the case of two of the accusers.
It sentenced Liang to six years and 10 months in prison for forcing one student to engage in sex and another to commit an obscene act.
The case may still be appealed.
Liang began serving as a full-time gymnastics coach at an unnamed elementary school in Kaohsiung in March 1991, the ruling read.
He had requested that “Female A” and “Female B,” who were attending junior-high school at the time, to come live at his home, citing training as the reason.
While the two were living in his home, if they did not obey him, Liang would say that refusing training might result in poor performance and that they might be replaced by younger female students, the ruling said.
“Female A” said that she was forced to have sex with Liang beginning in the second semester of eighth grade, and that she was assaulted up to once a week.
Liang denied the accusations in court, while his lawyer questioned why “Female A” did not call for help if she had been subject to sexual assault over a long period of time.
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