Sport

7 More Women Athletes Accuse Tamil Nadu Sports Coach Of Sexual Assault

7 More Women Athletes Accuse Tamil Nadu Sports Coach Of Sexual Assault

Seven more athletes have accused coach P Nagarajan of abuse, police said. (Representational image)

Chennai:

The probe against sports coach P Nagarajan over sexual assault of a woman athlete over the years has led to more women coming forward to disclose information and testify in connection with that case, police said on Saturday.

As fresh complaints pour in against Nagarajan, investigations reveal that he sexually assaulted his victims under the guise of providing them "physiotherapy treatment" and making them "fit."

Subtly, he played mind games to coerce his victims, who trained under him by talking about their future, scope to take part in big time events only if they "trained well" under him.

He was emboldened over the years and became more and more confident that he could go scot free as none of them till recently came forward to act against him, police said.

Seven more complaints have been received disclosing knowledge about sexual crimes vis-a-vis Nagarajan. Also, these plaints cover those who were themselves subjected to some form of sexual assault by the coach, police said.

"These complainants will (also) be our witnesses in the case," a senior police official told PTI.

To a question, the official said the coach mostly used a simple trick to sexually assault victims by falsely claiming that his ''physiotherapy touch'' would bring "relief."

Trainees, very young in age, were not immediately clear about what was happening to them and also had anxiety about their progress and growth which he misused to his advantage.

Athletes often encounter injuries like a sprain and so on, and this became an instant pretext for him to lure his victims, mostly teenagers.

He believed that children would not disclose it to others as he always tried to make them believe that he was doing them good but his actions were criminal in nature and his claims were merely lies, the official said.

The 59-year old coach, heading a sports academy in Chennai was arrested on May 30 following a complaint from the 19-year old victim, the first to file a complaint, that she was sexually harassed over the years. A case was filed against him under sections of IPC and of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

One of the complainants said, she trained under Nagarajan for nearly seven years, during which he abused her sexually and emotionally.

"I trained under Nagarajan for seven years. During that time he abused me sexually and emotionally. As a budding athlete, I assumed that his special interest in me was due to my athletic prowess. When that care developed into inappropriate behaviour, I got confused and scared..." the girl, one of the victims and the first to lodge a complaint against Nagarajan, had said.

"Several years later when I confided with my senior, she said that he had been abusing girl athletes for long..."

Similar to a "Me Too" movement, after allegations of sexual harassment by a teacher of a noted CBSE school in Chennai, Rajagopalan surfaced on social media, a slew of others who were allegedly victimised by others including a martial arts instructor and the coach went viral and they were arrested and lodged in prison.

After a complaint was lodged against him, the coach had reportedly tried to end his life by taking some pills.