ROBERT COLON – former French high level gymnast turned volunteer coach

The Case

  • Accused : Robert Colon aka « Rosco », former high level gymnast turned volunteer coach at Pôle France – Saint-Etienne. He was 46 years old at the time of Caroline’s accusations. Today he is 79 years old.
  • Victims : Caroline Jacquey & Morgane André.
  • Witness : Juliette Drahi.
  • The facts : sexual assault in 1988 when Caroline was 11 and rape in 1990 when Morgane was 13.

Caroline Jacquay & Morgane André, two former hopefuls of the French pole of Saint-Etienne, accused a former volunteer, Robert Colon, of sexual assault and rape. The alleged facts occurred in the 80s and 90s. As Morgane did not give an interview, we do not have any details about the rape for which she filed a complaint. Caroline was able to tell us what happened: After a training session, Robert Colon, having considered that it was too late to take them home, decided to take Caroline and Juliette Drahi, another gymnast student, to his house to spend the night. Later, he broke into the bed where Caroline was sleeping and touched her sexually. After that, she went to take refuge in the bathroom, terrorized and trembling. Juliette was a witness since she was next to her in the same bed. They know each other well because Caroline is staying with Juliette’s family. The next day, Caroline confided in her trainer at the St Etienne club, the cowardly Muriel Cavallero, who remained cold, distant and not at all surprised. She did not report the serious facts she had confided in her, leaving her without help or support, which destroyed her over the years. This aggression drove the two friends apart permanently, unable to overcome this traumatic event. Juliette also kept terrible after-effects, feeling guilty for not having spoken about it, with a period of depression and a two-year stay in a psychiatric hospital at the end of her teenage years. “I was afraid that Robert Colon would come and kill me so that I wouldn’t talk,” says Juliette. It was Caroline who, 30 years later, made contact with Juliette when she filed her complaint. Juliette wished to bring her testimony to Caroline’s complaint. At the time of Caroline Jacquey’s first complaint, which had been closed in 2010, the public prosecutor of Saint-Etienne, David Charmatz, had explained that new facts could reopen a complementary investigation and allow to establish the truth. This is what happened with Juliette’s testimony which corroborates Caroline’s accusations in 2010 and the other complaint of Morgane André in 2021. These new investigations were ordered by the courts and entrusted to the Research Brigade of the Gendarmerie of Saint-Etienne. As the former coach, Muriel Cavallero, is accused of not assisting in danger by Caroline, the prefecture of the Loire has taken a precautionary measure of “temporary prohibition to exercise any function of supervision” for a period of six months against him. Following these sanctions, Muriel Cavallero resigned from her various mandates in the gymnastics sector: member of the board of directors of the Pôle France in Saint-Etienne, vice-president of the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes regional committee and member of the national training commission of the French Gymnastics Federation. She was also Patrick Revelli’s running mate in the 2020 municipal elections for the mayor’s office in St Etienne. Her father, Paul Cavallero, is still the honorary president of the Pôle France of Saint Etienne. As there were other reports of former gymnasts, the French Federation of Gymnastics had no choice but to ask for the opening of an administrative investigation, entrusted to the departmental direction of the social cohesion of the Loire. Robert Colon was interviewed by the regional newspaper “Le Progrès” on February 24, 2021, which transcribed a cowardly and victimizing speech in which he denies the facts, says that he does not remember anything, does not understand why people are picking on him and assures that for the moment he has not been contacted by any judicial authority, departmental or even someone from the federation. Is this the truth or an attempt to make the accusers look like liars? He adds, “But I am ready to answer if I have to. “. So we wait to see what answers the pedo will give to justify his despicable acts.

The case raises a recurring problem: the employment of volunteer supervisors without a legal framework. Volunteers do not have a professional card and are not subject to criminal record checks. This explains in part why pedophiles, who act as predators, evolve in the field of volunteer sports with children. The field is open! It is becoming urgent to regulate this in order to avoid such abuses which often take place with total impunity and in a repeated manner. But apparently, common sense is not what characterizes this environment. Small arrangements between friends ?

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