By Martin Cleary
Ottawa’s Kenneth Thomas Porter, who was banned as an athletics coach in 2019 for several alleged historical sex offences involving teen athletes, was arrested and charged Nov. 9 by the Edmonton Police Service.
According to a Nov. 10 Edmonton Police Service press release, Porter, 72, was charged with five counts of indecent assault on a male and five counts of gross indecency, which were alleged between 1976 and 1980.
Porter was released by Edmonton police on a promise to appear for a scheduled court date in the Alberta capital on Dec. 7. He was a coach with the Edmonton Olympic Track and Field Club at the time of the alleged sexual assaults.
An investigation by the Edmonton Police Service sexual assault division found the alleged incidents occurred during track meets in Calgary and Edmonton more than 40 years ago, when the underage teen males were under Porter’s supervision.
A 2019 report by Athletics Canada commissioner Frank Fowlie accused Porter of sexually interfering with nine teenage male athletes over four decades, which sparked his ban as a coach by the national sport governing body.
Porter denied the allegations through his lawyer at that time.
“We are very glad the Edmonton Police Service has taken the complaints very seriously and has arrived at a place where these matters will be fairly heard in court,” Fowlie told Postmedia. Five men provided statements to Athletics Canada.
Porter was suspended as a coach in March, 2019, from Canada’s largest and most successful track and field club. He was later dismissed as board chair.
The Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club board of directors informed its membership earlier this month of the criminal charges brought against Porter. President Jennifer Dumoulin issued a three-paragraph statement.
“Our club and board are committed to encouraging a supportive sport environment and respectful workplace that is free of all forms of harassment, abuse and sexual misconduct,” she wrote.
“We understand that this has been and continues to be very difficult for some of our members and alumni. A list of local mental health resources has been added to our website.
“We will continue to work collaboratively with key partners to support a safe sport environment.”