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Coach John Lees was handed a lifetime ban from the sport of athletics on Thursday. The ban was handed down for complaints found against him for inappropriate behavior toward his athletes.
Lees received the life sentence while he was appealing his five-year ban that was handed down in February 2020.
The committee that heard the appeal added two more charges in the process.
“We are left with the view that he habitually behaved inappropriately,” stated the committee. “He had disregard for the rules and, as we have already noted, had no idea of boundaries.”
Rare UKA lifetime ban for coach John Lees. In May @mhairimaac bravely waived her anonymity and spoke out about the sexual abuse allegations against him, and has campaigned with @kyniskaadvocacy for lifetime bans. She wants this ruling to "set a precedent"https://t.co/ADW7q1U6nG— Molly McElwee (@molly_mcelwee) November 18, 2021
Scottish athlete Mhairi Maclennan was a complainant.
She said, “For me, today marks what I hope to be the end of a very long journey. I am immensely proud of all the athletes that have spoken up in this case, and I stand with all athletes, past and present, from our group.”
Charges against Lees included sexual touching, making a sexualised comment to a female athlete. Additionally endangering an athlete’s safety, and providing chiropractic adjustments while not being a qualified chiropractor.
The two additional charges were related to massaging a minor-age athlete in his home and making inappropriate and sexualised comments to athletes in his training group.
The UK Athletics interim CEO, Mark Munro, said, “we are pleased with the decision by the panel. Athletics cannot tolerate the type of behaviour highlighted in this case. This decision shows that welfare is at the front and centre of UK Athletics’ concerns and at the heart of what we stand for.”