French figure skater Morgan Cipres is under investigation by the United States Center for SafeSport after allegedly sending lewd photographs to a 13-year-old girl, USA Today reported on Tuesday.
Cipres, a two-time Olympian and pairs bronze medallist at the 2018 World Championship with partner Vanessa James, is alleged to have sent two photos of his penis to the girl, who skated at the same Florida rink as the Frenchman.
Asked to comment on the report Tuesday, Cipres’ press spokeswoman told AFP: “The federation is working with him on this. He has taken on a lawyer and he will not let himself be pushed around.”
Cipres has trained in the United States since 2016.
USA Today added it had seen the photos at the centre of the investigation, which were sent by Cipres from what appeared to be his verified Instagram account on December 3 2017.
The newspaper said Cipres’ coaches — former Olympians John Zimmerman and Silvia Fontana — had warned the girl’s family not to report the incident to authorities at the time.
According to USA Today, a fourth adult was also involved in the incident, named as coach Vinny Dispenza.
Dispenza is alleged to have told the girl and another underage girl to message Cipres requesting photos in exchange for the promise of a pizza.
USA Today said the girl and her parents were urged by Zimmerman and Fontana not to raise the matter with police of the US Center for SafeSport so as to avoid disrupting Cipres and James’ 2018 Olympic preparations.
The girl said she had been told by Dispenza she would “never skate again” if she took the matter to authorities.
Cipres meanwhile declined comment on the allegation when contacted by USA Today. “I cannot talk with you about anything about that. I mean, I have nothing to say about this allegation,” he was quoted as saying.
“I have nothing, nothing, nothing to say about anything about that so I’m sorry, I cannot talk to you.”
The case was reported to the US Center for SafeSport, which was set up in 2017 to investigate sexual abuse in Olympic sports, by a friend of the family in August this year.
SafeSport has declined to confirm an active investigation is underway citing the organization’s policy.
© 2019 AFP
Experts explain how Trump team’s defense against the Bolton bombshell is blowing up in the president’s face
Should former National Security Adviser John Bolton testify in President Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial? This question has loomed over the entire proceedings, given Bolton's key role in the events in question, but it garnered heightened urgency when a report broke recently in the New York Times revealing that the ex-Trump aide would likely confirm the core of the Democrats' case against the president.
It still seems Republicans may succeed in quashing any demands for witnesses like Bolton. But as Trump and his attorney responded to the release of Bolton bombshell, they actually strengthened the case for having him testify rather than weakening it. Even if the GOP successfully brings the trial to a swift close, their having accidentally strengthened the case for witnesses may hurt the legitimacy of the Senate's proceedings and undermined Trump's inevitable claims of exoneration.
Trump argues John Bolton should have complained when he was ‘very publicly terminated’
President Donald Trump lashed out at his former National Security Advisor in a tweet that was sent after midnight.
"Why didn’t John Bolton complain about this 'nonsense' a long time ago, when he was very publicly terminated. He said, not that it matters, NOTHING!" Trump argued.
Trump has seemed increasingly nervous about Bolton testifying in his Senate impeachment trial.
Here are some of this recent social media musings on the subject:
Democrats storm Iowa with all to play for in first US vote
The race to take on Donald Trump begins in earnest Monday in Iowa with Democrats struggling to identify a clear-cut presidential challenger, as the crowded contest heads to a photo finish in the heartland state.
Liberal Senator Bernie Sanders and the more moderate former vice president Joe Biden, both in their seventies, are setting the pace days before the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses.
But the two frontrunners' divergent political views suggest Democrats remain undecided on which path -- revolution or realism -- their party torchbearer should take as they battle to avoid a Trump re-election in November.