USA Today Sports via Reuters
JUSTICE – More than a month after ex-swimmer Yannick Agnel was indicted for rape and sexual assault on a 13-year-old minor, the lawyers for his alleged victim, now 19, told The Team the plaintiff’s suffering.
“Beyond the dramatic impact that these assaults have had and will have, everything has been taken away from her by which and for which she lived for twenty years, explains to the daily Me Isabelle Rollet, lawyer for N. Horter. Because for her, swimming is aggression.”
“She doesn’t wear a bathing suit anymore”
According to the lawyer, the sexual violence that the young woman allegedly suffered when she was 13 cut off her will to pursue this sport when “she could certainly have, with her level […], enter reputable universities in the United States”. “She no longer wears a bathing suit”, she summarizes after indicating that N. Horter has decided to continue her studies abroad “because you have to protect yourself and move forward”.
The facts would have taken place “over the whole year 2016″, in Mulhouse (Haut-Rhin), city where the swimmer practiced, whose coach was then Lionel Horter, father of the young woman, but also abroad during internships in Thailand and Spain or in Rio de Janeiro (host city of the 2016 Olympics). During his police custody, Yannick Agnel, who was 24 at the time, recognized “the materiality of the facts”, according to Mulhouse prosecutor Edwige Roux-Morizot. While specifying “that for him, he did not have the feeling that there was constraint”, added the magistrate.
Depression and anorexia
“There is for N. this first relief that he has recognized the materiality of the facts”, affirms Me Thomas Wetterer, another lawyer for the plaintiff. “The goal is to accompany her in what she is going through and to ensure that for her, it goes as well as possible, he continues. There is no aggressiveness, there is no spirit of revenge. N. just says: ‘This is what I had in my heart, what I physically somatized’.” Because according to his lawyers, N. Horter suffered from anorexia and depression, before deciding to file a complaint in 2021 against Yannick Agnel, after “a long journey”.
According to an investigation by the Radio France investigation unit, several people around them were aware of what was happening between Agnel and N. Horter. The alleged victim would also have confided in 2017 to a former swimmer that he had a relationship with the 2012 double Olympic champion, who ended his career in 2016. “N. told me at the end of 2017 that she had had a relationship with Yannick Agnel a year earlier, tells the ex-swimmer to journalists from Radio France. She told me in a tone of confidence. I think she didn’t realize.”
His lawyers repeat that the complainant’s parents were not aware of the charges against the swimmer. Critics of Mulhouse Olympic Swimming, led by Franck Horter (the brother of Lionel Horter, father of the victim), accuse the club of manipulation, according to a BFMTV investigation. A financial dispute opposes Yannick Agnel and the family club, which was ordered to pay 60,000 euros to the ex-swimmer.
“You realize today her state of mind when she reads that her parents would not have denounced the facts”, questions Isabelle Rollet, for whom “in the mind of a young girl, that translates into ‘Are my parents going to jail?’”. She denounces the “maliciousness” of certain commentators.
Placed under judicial supervision, Yannick Agnel is prohibited from leaving the inner suburbs of Paris, from going to Mulhouse unless summoned by a court, from contacting the family of the victim or from contacting his agent, Sophie Kamoun. He also had to surrender his passport to justice.
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