SPORTS SCANDAL

Basketball coach faces charges of sexual abuse against girls

Former Cajasol boss Manel Comas denies allegations from 2008

Manel Comas (standing) was given a homage by basketball fans earlier this year.
Manel Comas (standing) was given a homage by basketball fans earlier this year.DIARIO AS

A Seville court has opened summary proceedings against the former coach of Liga ACB basketball team Cajasol, Manel Comas, for two alleged counts of continuous sexual abuse in 2008. The court report, to which news agency Efe has had access, states that "taking advantage of the admiration [for Comas] the victims professed and the difference in age," the former coach attracted a girl "with a mental disability consistent with limited intelligence" and another 15-year-old "with light mental development delay."

"Manipulating the will of these girls through gifts and small amounts of money," the court stated that Comas abused the victims on several occasions. The judge said that there was corroborating evidence "that lends veracity to a very high level of authenticity," in the victims' testimony, such as a text message from the suspect left on one of their cellphones with a "clear rebuke" for not turning up for a date and a proposal that she accompany him another day in exchange for 200 euros. It was also considered significant that the girls did not go to the police but Comas' relationship with them was discovered "by chance" when the school one of them attended noted her absenteeism and decided to investigate.

The court gave no credence to a psychological report commissioned by Comas given that the "inconsistencies, contradictions, omissions and lack of accuracy" in the victims' statement was not strange "bearing in mind [the statements] were recorded four years after the events." Another psychological report said it was "not possible to verify the veracity of the testimony" of the girls, but the judge noted it was equally impossible to "negate or affirm the validity and credibility of the suspect's declarations." Comas said he knew the girls as they were fans of Cajasol and used to attend training sessions. He added that if he had given them money "it was purely through social conscience." The court noted that Comas could have participated in the club's "very well-known social work if his true intention was purely altruistic."

Comas, who has cancer and recently left his job as a commentator on TVE, denies the allegations. "Following my surprise about the news of my indictment for things that never happened, I wish to state my intention not to speak on the matter until the content of the court's procedure is known."

Earlier this month, allegations by former charges against former Spain national gymnastics team coach, Jesús Carballo, came to light.

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