Canadian Olympic chief steps down amid sexual harassment inquiry
Marcel Aubut resigned Saturday as president of the Canadian Olympic Committee while under investigation for a sexual harassment complaint.
The committee said in a statement its investigation now ends. Since the original complaint, two other women made allegations against Aubut. On Friday, the organization began a second investigation to examine any further complaints.
The committee said the matter is "deeply concerning" and has had a "profound impact on our Olympic family." Its board shortly will begin looking for an interim president.
The 67-year-old Aubut called the situation a "major distraction that obscures the COC’s real goals." He added in a statement that his involvement "jeopardizes the organization’s smooth operations and may have repercussions that ultimately affect Canadian Olympic athletes."
Aubut already had temporarily stepped aside as committee president and chairman of the Canadian Olympic Foundation. The committee had retained a former chief justice of the Quebec Superior Court to investigate the initial complaint.
Aubut was CEO of the NHL’s Quebec Nordiques until the team moved to Colorado in 1995. He was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.
He is a partner at the Montreal law firm BCF, which said Wednesday it would not comment on the investigation. BCF added that Aubut’s position at the firm was not at risk since the allegations did not directly involve his professional activities.
On Thursday, Montreal lawyer Amelia Salehabadi-Fouques gave several interviews about her interactions with Aubut, while Canadian broadcaster TVA aired an interview with a woman the television network said worked closely with him. Neither woman has filed a complaint with the COC.
Salehabadi-Fouques, who specializes in sports law and has been a Canadian Soccer Association board member since 2013, says she was harassed by Aubut three times, beginning when she met him four years ago. She contends he forced a kiss during their first meeting and made sexually charged comments during their next two encounters.
In the TVA interview, a woman alleged she was sexually harassed several times in 2011 when Aubut was working at a Montreal law firm. The woman was not identified but the network said she worked with him.