A 35-year-old basketball coach pleaded not guilty in Oslo on Monday to 15 counts of rape and attempted rape involving 14 women. Several of the women were on teams the defendant coached, and prosecutors charge that he exploited his position and betrayed their trust.
One of his alleged victims, meanwhile, was a babysitter for his child. She has claimed that he raped her when he returned home, and found her sleeping.
His first alleged assault occurred as long ago as 2004, and the latest this past summer. He was initially charged with 13 rapes, but the number has increased as more women have come forward.
The attorney for the women, Trine Rjukaan, has noted similarities in the various cases, in how he tried to secure the women’s trust, only to assault them later. That apparently made them reluctant to report the rapes to police.
His defense attorney, Johnny Veum, stresses that since the women had not gone to the police, the credibility of their claims is questionable. Veum’s client has admitted that he did not treat the women well, and was conceited, but that his sexual encounters with them can’t necessarily be defined as rape.
The case is being heard in the Oslo City Court (Oslo tingrett), with the accused facing compensation claims of more than NOK 2 million.