US police probe French figure skater Morgan Cipres over sexual abuse of teen after fresh info

French figure skater Morgan Cipres is alleged to have sent two photos of his penis to a 13-year-old girl. PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Police in Florida have opened an investigation into allegations that French figure skater Morgan Cipres sexually abused a 13-year-old girl in 2017, USA Today reported on Tuesday (June 30).

A spokesman for Pasco County Sheriff's Office told the newspaper that an investigation had been launched after police received new information in the case.

"I can confirm the case has been reopened due to new or additional information," Amanda Hunter was quoted as saying, describing the case as "an ongoing, active investigation".

An attorney for Cipres' alleged victim told USA Today that the teenager was "fully cooperating with the investigation".

Last year it emerged that Cipres was being investigated by the United States Centre for SafeSport for allegedly sending lewd photographs to the 13-year-old in December 2017.

Cipres, a two-time Olympian and pairs bronze medallist at the 2018 World Championship with partner Vanessa James, is alleged to have sent two photos of his penis to the girl, who skated at the same Florida rink as the Frenchman.

When contacted by the paper previously, the 29-year-old declined to comment, saying only: "I cannot talk with you about anything about that. I mean, I have nothing to say about this allegation."

USA Today reported previously that Cipres' coaches - former Olympians John Zimmerman and Silvia Fontana - had warned the girl's family not to report the incident to the authorities at the time.

According to the paper, a fourth adult was also involved in the incident, named as coach Vinny Dispenza.

He is alleged to have told the girl and another underage girl to message Cipres requesting photos in exchange for the promise of a pizza.

USA Today said the girl and her parents were urged by Zimmerman and Fontana not to raise the matter with police or the US Centre for SafeSport, to avoid disrupting Cipres and James' preparations for the 2018 Olympics.

Cipres and James have been skating partners since 2010, and are planning to compete in the 2022 Winter Olympics to be held in Beijing.

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