Castaway Wanderers rugby coach steps down following online allegations

The Castaway Wanderers rugby club has asked one of its coaches to step down following ­allegations of abuse made over social media on the Survivors Stories Project, an Instagram site for victims of sexual abuse in ­Victoria.

The coach has agreed to step down, according to the club.

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“This is a difficult and sensitive situation for everyone,” said Castaway Wanderers president Dave Crossley.

“We’re not judging or blaming. But we felt the club needed to be clear and make a separation while the coach deals with this. We hope the outcome is good for all.”

The online allegations, which are not part of any official legal process, regard groping the women, including under their clothing, in sports and bar settings.

“This has haunted me for years wondering how he could get away with such disgusting and disrespectful behaviour,” wrote one of the online accusers.

All references to the coach, including his bio, have been scrubbed from the Castaway Wanderers club website.

“Castaway Wanderers RFC has been made aware of serious allegations on social media against one of our coaches,” the club’s executive posted on ­Instagram.

“We are shocked by the allegations and condemn the behaviour involved. Castaway Wanderers are committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment for participants of all genders, races and sexual orientation across all of our programs. Given the seriousness of the allegations, we have asked our coach to resign and he has agreed.”

The Oak Bay Wanderers club, based in Oak Bay, was founded in 1906 and merged with the Castaways club in the 1990s. The club has won five men’s B.C. Premier Rounsefell Cup championships, the first in 1960 and last in 2011, and produced several players for Canada’s World Cup teams.

The club fields teams in men’s and women’s B.C. Premier and Div. 1-3 senior play and offers male and female youth divisions.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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