In the public interest, EC would like to make our community aware that formal criminal charges have been laid against Francis Berger, a coach in the equestrian field in Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Quebec by the Richelieu-Saint-Laurent Regional Police for sexual assault, sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching. The alleged acts occurred between 2004 and 2022.

The Police believe there may be more potential victims and are asking for the public’s assistance in this investigation. Any information about Berger or his actions can be sent confidentially to their reporting line at 450-922-7001 ext. 399.

As an EC sport license holder, we can confirm that at the onset of this investigation, Berger was immediately suspended and placed on our publicly available Not in Good Standing – Other List on our website. EC is committed to supporting law enforcement in this and any other matter and will continue to do everything we can to support the Richelieu Saint-Laurent Regional Police and/or other victims, while respecting their privacy.

When EC’s third-party Complaint Manager initially receives a complaint of such a serious nature, as deemed under our Discipline, Complaints, and Appeals Policy they immediately notify police, the individual is suspended and placed on our publicly available disciplinary sanctions list. As per our Reciprocation Policy, the provincial or territorial affiliated organization is informed of the suspension and the nature of the allegations.

If someone is suspended, they are informed to cease all equestrian sport activities and prohibited from attending any EC activities or sanctioned events. EC provides that person with written notice of the suspension. If they breach this or any other sanction, legal action, including further disciplinary action, may be taken against them. Witnesses will be sought in these cases for these breaches and those witnesses will be asked to contact our third-party Complaints Manager directly.

Reporting is critical in creating and maintaining safe and welcoming environments for all equestrian participants. We encourage anyone with more information or concerns of other potential misconduct regarding this case or any other to submit a complaint here: Complaint Form (equestrian.ca)

Any questions or concerns about this communication should be directed to EC Director of Communications, Melanie McLearon at mmclearon@equestrian.ca

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