Yannick Agnel poses with his gold medal on the podium of the men's 200m freestyle swimming event at the London 2012 Olympic Games
Yannick Agnel won three medals at the London Olympics in 2012.LEON NEAL/AFP/GettyImages
  • Yannick Agnel, a two-time gold-medal-winning Olympian for France, was arrested on suspicion of rape.
  • Prosecutors say Agnel acknowledged having a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old when he was 24.
  • AFP reports that the girl was the daughter of one of Agnel's coaches.

A two-time Olympic gold-medal-winning swimmer has acknowledged having a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl when he was 24, the prosecutor in his case said, per several media reports in France.

France's Yannick Agnel was arrested in Paris on Thursday on suspicion of rape and sexual assault, Agence France-Presse reported Monday.

He was handed preliminary charges Saturday, the Associated Press reported on the same day. He was taken to the city of Mulhouse, close to the French border with Switzerland and Germany, where a lawsuit against him was initially filed.

Agnel, who won two golds at the 2012 London Games, is accused of rape and coercion in a series of events alleged to have taken place in 2016, the reports say. The accuser is the daughter of one of Agnel's former coaches, AFP reports.

The allegations involve several locations including Spain, Thailand, and Brazil, the prosecutor Edwige Roux-Morizot said, per the AP.

Agnel denies the charge of coercion but has acknowledged having a sexual relationship with the girl, Roux-Morizot added, per AFP.

Both agencies quote Roux-Morizot as saying Agnel "recognizes the materiality of the alleged facts" but denies "coercion" in the relationship with the girl.

In France, the age of consent is 15. Earlier this year, the country changed its laws to characterize an adult having sex with a child younger than 15 as rape. Before the changes were made, children under 15 were considered able to consent to sex with adults under French law.

The crime of rape in France is punishable with 20 years in prison.

Yannick Agnel's lawyer, Celine Lasek (C), arrives at the Mulhouses courthouse, eastern France, on December 11, 2021
Agnel's lawyer Celine Lasek, center, appeared at the Mulhouse courthouse on Saturday.SEBASTIEN BOZON/AFP via Getty Images

AP reports that the case was brought to a court in Mulhouse after a swimmer who trained with Agnel in the city between 2014 and 2016 filed a lawsuit.

The French newspaper L'Equipe reports that several swimmers, current and retired, have already been questioned as part of the investigation.

Agnel won gold in the 200-meter freestyle and the 4x100-meter free relay in London. He also won silver in the 4x200-meter free relay and two golds at the 2013 Barcelona world championships.

France's minister of sport, Roxana Maracineanu, said it was a "very important subject" for her. 

"I personally know the person who lodged the complaint, and you can imagine that this affects me," Maracineanu said, as reported by Inside The Games.

"It is a process that must follow its course.

"The girl's complaint is in the hands of the justice system and must proceed to the end."

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