Sports coach accused of sexually assaulting 12-year-old twin girls at summer camp in China
Man has been detained by police and sacked from his job with Fun Game Gym
A sports coach is under investigation after a mother accused him of sexually assaulting her 12-year-old twin daughters during a summer camp – the latest in a string of allegations made on social media as the #MeToo campaign gains momentum in China.
The Beijing-based company which organised the camp, Fun Game Gym, said in a statement on Monday it had sacked the man after receiving a complaint from the girls’ parents, and it had also suspended its CEO. The coach was detained by the authorities after the parents reported the case to both police and the company on July 30, it said.
The mother then made the allegations public in a WeChat post last Monday that was widely circulated. In the post, she said her daughters had been staying at the Yesanpo National Park in Laishui county, Hebei province – a popular tourist spot near Beijing – with about 90 other children from July 22 to 28. When they returned home, the girls told their parents a young male coach had harassed and assaulted them towards the end of their stay.
It comes after a number of women – encouraged by the #MeToo campaign which started in the United States last autumn – have come forward on social media in recent weeks with accusations of harassment and sexual assault against well-known figures in NGOs, media and publishing.
Fun Game Gym, which offers sports training for children and has more than 50 outlets in China, said it had halted all overnight trips and suspended chief executive Zhang Huabing, saying he had not reacted appropriately to the complaint.
The company “has formally apologised to the family of the victims” and is cooperating with the police investigation, the statement said.
Calls to the Laishui county police bureau went unanswered on Monday. The girls’ parents declined the South China Morning Post’s interview request.
In the WeChat post, the mother alleged that one of her daughters had been woken by the coach touching her face around 3am on the last day of the camp, in a hotel room she was sharing with her sister and other girls. She said he then led the girl out of the room to a staircase, keeping her there for about two hours while he told her about his girlfriend “and things she didn’t understand” and continuing to touch her face.
The mother also accused the coach of leading her other daughter to a place that was out of view of the hotel’s security cameras before pushing her against a wall and kissing her.