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Coach and athlete exchanged sexually explicit messages

The jury in the trial of a sports coach accused of sexually abusing a female athlete has seen sexually explicit text messages the pair exchanged.

The sports coach, who has name suppression, is standing trial in the Auckland District Court this week after pleading not guilty to five charges of sexual violation.

The Crown has alleged he repeatedly forced himself on the female athlete, whom he had trained since she was a teenager.

Today the jury pored over a series of text messages exchanged between the woman and the man during the period of the alleged offending.

The woman said the man would often send her sexually explicit text messages after they had lunch together, and she would return them.

"If he sent me smutty messages and I didn't reply he would ring me or send me another message," she said.

The woman said she took part in sexual conversations out of fear he would retaliate if she didn't.

"If I ever said no to him there would be consequences so you had to agree with him."

The court heard the man bought her expensive jewellery, among other gifts, and would always insist on paying for lunch.

"Obviously I didn't want to accept gifts from him but again, I had no choice. He would push them on me if I didn't want them," she said.

Defence lawyer Graeme Newell said his client didn't dispute that the sexual activity had occurred but said it was consensual.

Under cross-examination, he questioned the woman about a text message she deleted after speaking with the police.

Mr Newell: "Is it the case that [your coach] text 'Do you want my cock?' and you said 'Yes'?"

The woman: "I don't remember sending that."

Mr Newell: "It's difficult to know now because you've deleted it."

The woman: "Yeah."

Mr Newell raised another text message, in which the woman told the man she was very lucky to have a coach like him.

Mr Newell: "This is the man that you say had sexually violated you 12 days earlier?"

The woman: "Correct."

Yesterday the woman told the court she was initially pleased the man took an interest in her, as the attention came with extra training opportunities.

But she said their relationship changed one night in December 2016 when the man - who was nearly 40 years older than her - tried to kiss her.

The pair were sitting in the man's car after dining out together when he groped her chest and forced her to perform oral sex on him, she said.

Crown prosecutor Hannah Clark said this continued for about five months, at trips away and even abroad, before the woman broke down and told another coach who contacted the police.

Ms Clark said the woman had a lot of respect for her coach, and knew much of her sporting success depended on their relationship.

"Her success depended on him and he knew he could take advantage of that. He was right because for some time it was easier for her to go along with what he wanted than to kick up a fuss and compromise her career."

By Anneke Smith

rnz.co.nz

Person using phone at airport (file picture).
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