image sourceBen Birchall/PAimage captionStan Wild carried the Olympic torch through York in 2012

An ex-Olympic gymnast, who denies abusing children, was expelled by the sport's governing body 12 years after a complaint was first made against him.

Stan Wild, 77, competed at two Olympic Games and later founded a club in York.

In 2008, a woman reported alleged abuse to police and British Gymnastics, but after an inquiry no action was taken.

Mr Wild, who denies the allegations and has never been charged with any offence, was barred after a new inquiry by British Gymnastics in 2020.

Nikki O'Donnell, who has waived her right to anonymity, said she was sexually assaulted multiple times between the ages of nine and 14 at Mr Wild's club.

She said the abuse included groping and touching her chest and bottom and said Mr Wild would also enter the gym's changing room when she was undressing.

"He would also kiss me and other girls that I witnessed. He would kiss you on the lips," she said.

image captionNikki O'Donnell claims Stan Wild would grope and touch her and other girls at the club

In 2008, Ms O'Donnell reported the alleged abuse to the police, who investigated, but no action was taken and Mr Wild was allowed to carry on coaching.

"They should have put a stop to it, but they allowed it to carry on and they allowed it to carry on for a long time," she said.

In 2016, another girl complained she had been abused by Mr Wild at the York City Gymnastics Foundation club and he was then suspended.

The girl, who cannot be named, said: "I was sat on a bench and he said, 'there'll be no more kisses for anyone' and I sort of went, 'yes' because I was happy about it.

"He pushed me back onto the floor with him on top of me and his chest against my chest and then pretended to kiss me again in front of everyone, which just made me feel really embarrassed and uncomfortable."

The family said the way the club dealt with the matter made them feel as though they were the problem.

The present trustees at the club said they had "limited knowledge" of the complaint brought by Ms O'Donnell in 2008.

However, they said safeguarding was at the heart of the gym.

"Our policies and procedures have been rigorously overviewed by the appropriate authorities and comply with best practice," they said.

The trustees added they "deeply regret the hurt and upset which has been caused".

image sourceBBC Sportimage captionStan Wild was a British champion gymnast who represented Great Britain at two Olympic Games

In July, British Gymnastics confirmed it had expelled Mr Wild from membership, following the conclusion of the sporting authority's 2020 investigation.

A spokesperson said British Gymnastics did not comment on individual safeguarding cases, but it encouraged anyone with concerns to report them.

"As soon as we receive a complaint, we act swiftly and definitively to investigate in all cases," a spokesman said.

He added that complex cases can take time to come to a conclusion.

"When allegations are investigated by statutory authorities such as the police, British Gymnastics cannot begin or continue its own investigation until such inquiries are concluded.

"One action that can take place while investigations continue is suspension, which immediately prevents a person from taking part in any British Gymnastics-regulated activity, including coaching."

British Gymnastics launched an independent review into allegations of mistreatment within the organisation not connected with Mr Wild in 2020 after a number of gymnasts alleged there was a culture of mistreatment in the sport.

Mr Wild represented Great Britain at the 1968 and 1972 Olympic Games and in 2012 was chosen to carry the Olympic torch through York ahead of the London games.

Through his solicitors, Mr Wild denied the allegations made against him and said he had no further comment to make.

North Yorkshire Police confirmed it was investigating historical complaints.

"Detectives have interviewed a 77-year-old man from York in connection with child abuse complaints from the 1970s and 2000s," a spokesman said.

"Following questioning he was released under investigation."

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