Editor’s Note: The following story deals with sexual assault, and may be distressing for some readers.
If you or someone you know is in need of support, those in Canada can find province-specific centres, crisis lines and services here. For readers in America, a list of resources and references for survivors and their loved ones can be found here.
VANCOUVER — A provincial court judge in North Vancouver has handed a two-year sentence to Bob Birarda, a former Vancouver Whitecaps and Soccer Canada coach, for sex offences involving four female athletes.
Judge Deanne Gaffar says Birarda “immeasurably harmed” and violated the sexual integrity of four “youthful” soccer players, three of whom were under 18 years old at the time of the offences.
Gaffar says Birarda will spend nearly 16 months of the sentence in jail, while the remaining eight months will be served in the community under conditions that had yet to be imposed.
That will be followed by three years’ probation.
Gaffar says Birarda was in a position of trust with each of the victims, who feared that rejecting his interest in them would harm their soccer careers.
Birarda, who is 55, pleaded guilty in February to three counts of sexual assault and one count of sexual touching involving the teens.