Ex-Brazil gymnastics coach denies sexual abuse accusations

SAO PAULO — A former coach of the Brazilian national gymnastics team has told a Senate committee that he's innocent of allegations he sexually abused athletes and says the claims might stem from a conspiracy against him.

A Brazilian news show revealed last month that dozens of gymnasts and former gymnasts have accused Fernando de Carvalho Lopes of abusing them, including watching them shower, touching their genitals and asking them to masturbate in front of him. Police are investigating.

Lopes appeared before a Senate committee on Wednesday and suggested that his accusers might have aligned their stories or been coached. Lopes said he wasn't sure why the athletes would do such a thing. But he added that he was a strict coach and had probably caused more discontent than satisfaction over the years.

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