A Brazilian curling competitor and youth coach is facing three child sex charges in Vancouver, Canada.
Marcio Cerquinho, 40, lives in Vancouver and has competed for Brazil at three World Mixed Doubles championships and two Americas Challenge competitions.
Vancouver police announced charges of sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching and sexual exploitation after the victim reported the incident which allegedly took place in New Westminster on May 14.
Police also accused Cerquinho of using his position as a curling coach to gain trust.
“The victim went to her mother to initially report the incident, advised that she was touched inappropriately by the accused and that she was forced to touch him,” said Sgt. Sanjay Kumar of the New Westminster Police Department.
In a telephone call with CTV News, Cerquinho denied doing anything wrong.
“I would never touch anyone in Canada this way. I moved from Brazil. I spent a lot of money to stay here,” Cerquinho said. “My wife is pregnant. And I would not do anything to anyone like that.”
None of the allegations against Cerquinho have been proven in court.
He was arrested on May 17 and then released with a number of conditions, including that he have no contact with any children under 16 unless in the presence of a responsible adult and only with approval from his bail supervisor.
His next appearance at New Westminster provincial court is scheduled for early June.
Cerquinho’s record at three World Mixed Doubles championships is nine wins and 12 losses, with a top finish of 17th place. Playing second for men’s team skip Marcello Melo, Cerquinho’s Team Brazil went 0-6 in two competitions held to declare the second North American berth at the men’s world championship.
After dropping three 2017 Americas Challenge matches to USA’s John Shuster, Team Brazil lost three straight to Canada’s Glenn Howard foursome in 2018. Cerquinho was the gregarious on-ice competitor at the latter playoff in London, Ont. and mobilized both teams to swap jerseys during the final match.
Cerquinho also coached Brazil’s junior aged mixed and mixed doubles teams at the 2018 Youth Olympics in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Brazil’s Uiverso Online (UOL) reports that Cerquinho is involved in his country’s first dedicated curling facility, “Arena Ice” located in Sao Paulo. Cerquinho threw the first stone at the facility in February of 2020 but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the official opening in May 2020 to be postponed.
In a 2020 story, the World Curling Federation said Brazil has some 40 players spread around the world. The country first attracted waves of virtual curling fans when the Vancouver 2010 Olympic curling competition was broadcast on Brazilian television during the carnival holidays.
Six months later, Brazil’s first live promotional curling event took place in Sao Paulo, operated by Canada’s Rock Solid Productions.