Olympic judo champ fails to show up for sexual assault case
VIENNA (AP) — Legal authorities in Austria still had no clue on Peter Seisenbacher’s whereabouts on Tuesday, a day after the two-time Olympic judo champion was supposed to stand trial for the alleged sexual assault of two young girls he was coaching in the early 2000s.
The regional criminal court and state prosecution in Vienna said they haven’t heard from Seisenbacher since he failed to show up for the start of his trial on Monday. The case has been adjourned.
“We have not received any information from the defense on his whereabouts or on the reason for his absence,” court spokeswoman Christina Salzborn told the Austria Press Agency on Tuesday.
His lawyer, Bernhard Lehofer, said he spoke to Seisenbacher “a few days ago” but had failed to contact him since. Seisenbacher is currently head coach of the Azerbaijan judo team.
“I have been trying to call him,” Lehofer said. “I only get to his voicemail every time (...) I am not aware of his current whereabouts.”
According to state prosecutors, the alleged abuse took place in Vienna between 1999 and 2004, when the two girls were still under 14. The women filed charges against their former coach in 2013.
Seisenberger is alleged to have sexually assaulted one of the girls in 1999, when she was 11, and then abused her on multiple occasions until 2002. Also, he allegedly sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl in 2004.
Additionally, he has been charged with the attempted assault of a 16-year-old pupil while at a training camp in Croatia in 2001.
If found guilty, the 56-year-old Seisenbacher could face a prison term of up to 10 years.
Seisenbacher became the first judoka to win gold at two consecutive Olympics, in 1984 in Los Angeles and four years later in Seoul.
As a coach, he led the Azerbaijan team to two silver medals at the Rio de Janeiro Games. Earlier, he was head coach of the Georgia team when Lasha Shavdatuashvili won gold in the men’s 66-kilogram division at the 2012 London Olympics.