Austrian Olympic judo champ denies sexual assault of pupils
VIENNA (AP) — Two-time Olympic judo champion Peter Seisenbacher of Austria has denied the alleged sexual assault of two young girls he was coaching in the early 2000s.
At the start of his trial on Monday, Seisenbacher said: “I am not guilty.”
According to state prosecutors, the alleged abuse took place in Vienna between 1999 and 2004. The women filed charges against their former coach in 2013.
“Nothing has happened. Nobody has been attacked,” Seisenbacher’s attorney, Bernhard Lehofer, said.
Seisenbacher 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.
He has also 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 59-year-old Seisenbacher could face a prison term of up to 10 years.
Initially the trial in a Vienna regional criminal court was set to begin nearly three years ago, but the case was adjourned in December 2016 after Seisenbacher failed to show up in court.
His whereabouts were unknown for months before he was arrested in Kyiv in August 2017 but released from detention before Ukrainian authorities decided on an extradition request from Austria.
He was again arrested when he tried to cross the Ukrainian-Polish border with a fake passport three months ago.
In 1988 in Seoul, South Korea, Seisenbacher became the first judoka to win gold at two consecutive Olympics, having also won in 1984 in Los Angeles.
As a coach, he helped Georgia’s Lasha Shavdatuashvili win gold in the men’s 66-kilogram division at the 2012 London Olympics, and led the Azerbaijan team to two silver medals at the Rio de Janeiro Games four years later.