VANCOUVER – The previous girls’s coach for the Vancouver Whitecaps and Canadian youth soccer groups says he’s crammed with the “deepest disgrace” for sexual offenses in opposition to 4 athletes between 1988 and 2008.
Bob Birarda learn an apology to the victims and everybody else he mentioned he let down, together with his household and the soccer neighborhood, at a sentencing listening to in North Vancouver regional court docket on Friday.
“I’m deeply sorry to every of you for the ache, confusion and trauma my habits has triggered you,” Birarda mentioned.
“I can not discover the phrases to precise the depth of my remorse, my unhappiness, my disgrace and the self-loathing I’ve been crammed with all these years.”
He mentioned there isn’t any excuse or justification for what he did and he cannot make an apology “sufficient instances.”
Birarda, who was carrying a grey go well with with the collar turned up, broke down in tears as he reached again for his spouse’s hand after returning to his seat.
The 55-year-old pleaded responsible in February to a few counts of sexual assault and one depend of sexual touching involving 4 feminine gamers below the age of 18.
In June, Crown prosecutor Linda Ostry instructed the court docket that Birarda was, in two circumstances, the coach of the gamers on the time of the offences. Within the different two, he held a place of authority as a outstanding determine on the planet of soccer and a mentor, she mentioned.
The circumstances vary from an early incident the place he had intercourse with a teenage participant whereas teaching her in his early 20s, to stalking a 17-year-old when he was 40, the court docket
In that case, the bodily contact included a kiss on the cheek, shoulder and neck touches and undesirable hugs, however the court docket heard that Birarda wished a romantic and sexual relationship along with her when she turned 18 and pressured her to return his emotions.
In her sufferer affect assertion learn in June, the sufferer mentioned she was anxious concerning the penalties of a “no” on her soccer profession.
Birarda mentioned he didn’t perceive the facility dynamics concerned in his early crimes. He was affected by private turmoil and panic assaults earlier than the final crime and was searching for connection in all of the unsuitable locations, he mentioned.
“My habits is so appalling to me,” Birarda mentioned in his apology. “None of that is meant as an apology for what I did as a result of it is not.”
The Crown has beneficial a jail sentence of two years much less a day, and three years probation. He additionally known as for a DNA pattern, a compulsory 10-year gun ban and, if a jail time period is ordered, a no-contact order for every girl.
Protection lawyer Invoice Good argued Friday that Birarda must be sentenced to a complete of 1 yr for the crimes, with eight months in jail and a four-month suspended sentence.
Good mentioned Birarda pleaded responsible, cooperated with Crown prosecutors and can reside with the legacy of “intense” media protection of the case which will probably be reside on-line.
The protection submitted 30 character references to the court docket written by Birarda’s associates, household and athletes he coached.
Within the 14 years for the reason that final crime, Birarda has rehabilitated himself and is at low danger of re-offending, so it’s not about defending society that he’s despatched to jail, mentioned Good. Nevertheless, he admitted that the court docket should reject his actions and forestall others from repeating them.
“The protection has accepted that he has to go to jail, that he needs to be handcuffed and brought out of the courtroom.”
Birarda was fired by each the Whitecaps and Canada Soccer in October 2008.
An unbiased investigation by McLaren World Sport Resolution launched in July concluded that Canada Soccer “dealt with allegations of sexual harassment in 2008 in opposition to Birarda, then the nationwide girls’s under-20 coach.
The 125-page report mentioned with out route or scrutiny, Birarda ran the crew “as he noticed match,” and engaged in what CSA (Canadian Soccer Affiliation) ought to have characterised as questionable good if not prohibited relationships, communication. , and actions along with his feminine gamers.”
The court docket was adjourned till September 13, when one other date will probably be set to proceed the listening to. A judgment is just not anticipated earlier than the top of October.
This report by The Canadian Press was initially printed on September 2, 2022.