OLYMPIC kayaker Angus Mortimer has received a lifetime ban from the sport following a ruling over allegations of grooming.
The 38-year-old kayaker represented Canada between 2005 and 2016 and competed in the 2008 Olympic Games.
Canoe Kayak Canada launched an independent inquiry into allegations against the sportsman of harassment and sexual harassment while part of the national team.
On November 7, it was ruled that he had violated the CKC’s Discrimination and Harassment Policy and should be banned from representing Canada in the sport for life.
The CKC said: “Following an independent disciplinary process, Canoe Kayak Canada (CKC) announces that Angus Mortimer has been found in violation of CKC’s 2015 Discrimination and Harassment Policy after it was found that he engaged in harassment and sexual harassment while a national team athlete.
“Mr. Mortimer is permanently ineligible to participate in any capacity in any program, activity, event, or competition sponsored by, organized by, or under the auspices of Canoe Kayak Canada and its members, and he has been ordered to provide letters of apology to the complainants.”
The disciplinary board was made up of three lawyers but as a panel, it does not have the power to determine if Mortimer has committed any crime.
According to a decision document seen by The Globe and Mail, it was noted that CKC hired a lawyer to investigate the allegations against Mortimer.
The lawyer subsequently informed the Ottowa police in November 2019 and they then launched a criminal investigation which has since been closed without Mortimer being charged with any crime.
In 2019, Mortimer worked as a coach for a Mississauga canoe club and it was around this time that five ex-athletes filed a complaint about him with the CKC.
The decision document cited that there was a pattern of alleged abusive behavior against female athletes as young as 15, according to The Globe and Mail, which obtained a copy of the document.
It details how Mortimer would allegedly use his status as a successful athlete to approach and contact vulnerable female athletes as young as 15 on social media.
According to the news outlet, the panel explained that Morimer would turn the conversations in a sexual direction, first online and then in person.
The allegations relate to incidents that allegedly took place between Mortimer and five complainants between 2009 and 2013.
The decision document, dated March 22, 2023 states: “When specifically asked what possible reason he would have had to befriend teenage girls when he was many years their senior, Mortimer responded that he had ‘no answer,’ let alone any reason.
“From this, the panel concludes that his pattern of befriending girls much younger than himself cannot be seen as well-intentioned.”
In the four-day Zoom hearing in January, Mortimer and his lawyer said that the sexual contact was consensual but the board refuted this argument.
“Having regard to all of the relevant circumstances applicable to the Respondent and the women, including age differences, power imbalance, and states of intoxication, the Panel believes that the affirmative consent standard should govern the issue in this case,” the document states.
All complainants have been left anonymous but were all teenagers at the time of the alleged incidents.
One woman claimed in the hearing that she met Mortimer in 2010 at the age of 14, while he was 24.
Being new to the program and without friends, she was isolated, so when Mortimer added her on social media, she was “star-struck.”
She claimed that the pair had three sexual encounters over the following months and for one of them, she was intoxicated.
Discussing an alleged encounter in 2011, she said: “I know that I did not really want to be doing what he was making me do.”
Mortimer “took advantage of [her] naivety and vulnerability to obtain a personal sexual advantage,” the panel ruled.
According to the decision document, the disgraced sportsman claimed that “hookup culture” was common and accepted within CKC and “a culture in which alcohol was prevalent and underage drinking, in particular, was enabled.”
For this, the board criticized the CKC for its failure to adequately supervise parties and events following competitions which “played a role in the susceptibility of several of the witnesses to Mortimer’s problematic behavior and conduct.”
While the decision over the allegations was made by the board back in March, the ban was only announced last week to give Mortimer time to launch an appeal.
Casey Wade, the chief executive officer of Canoe Kayak Canada said that the sportsman’s appeal was dismissed on July 31 followed by the rejection of another appeal to the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada.
A letter distributed to Canoe Kayak Canada members has been shared on X, formerly Twitter, which explains the sanction, and the policies violated by Mortimer.
Former Gymnast Amelia C., who co-founded Gymnasts for Change Canada, shared the letter and her sentiments over the ruling.
“So relieved for these survivors that this has resulted in a lifetime ban,” she wrote.
“But the complaint processes are hell for victims.
“We desperately need whole-system reform and an inquiry into the rampant abuse crisis.”
Mr. Wade said the organization “commends the courage of the complainants who have come forward and will continue to offer support to them in relation to this matter.”
He added that the CKC “strongly supports all participants’ rights to compete in an environment that is safe and free from harassment, maltreatment, and abuse.”
The U.S. Sun has contacted the CKC and the Ottowa Police for comment but was unable to reach Mortimer or his lawyer.
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