More women are coming forward with allegations concerning Canadian Olympic Committee head Marcel Aubut, who has stepped aside pending the investigation of a sexual harassment complaint from a staffer.
They accuse Mr. Aubut of making unwanted advances that include fondling, touching and forcibly kissing them.
On Thursday, the TVA network reported Mr. Aubut reached a financial settlement in a complaint made by a former executive assistant around the time he was a partner at Heenan Blaikie, the now-defunct law firm. The allegations were never proven in court.
In an interview with the news channel, the unidentified woman alleged that on multiple occasions in 2011, Mr. Aubut harassed her verbally and touched her breasts and buttocks.
At one point, she alleged, she was asked to bring a file into his personal conference room, only to find him standing in his boxer shorts.
The woman added that she intends to take the matter up with police.
Also this week, Amélia Salehabadi-Fouques, a lawyer, publicly accused Mr. Aubut of grabbing her hair and kissing her deeply ("with his tongue and everything … I was disgusted," she told La Presse) at a lunch meeting in a posh Montreal steakhouse four years ago.
Her account mirrors a separate event recounted to The Globe and Mail on Thursday by a female business acquaintance of the 67-year-old Mr. Aubut, a prominent Quebec City lawyer who was once the principal owner of the NHL's Quebec Nordiques.
In media appearances, Ms. Salehabadi-Fouques, who sits on the board of Soccer Canada and was interested in becoming active in the COC, alleged there were also other incidents.
She has made no formal complaint against Mr. Aubut.
Current and former employees of the COC describe an organization plunged into turmoil by the allegations against its uncontested, larger-than-life leader.
They describe Mr. Aubut as a demanding boss – a characterization he would not dispute – and a frequently abrasive one.
"He's a bulldozer, he gets things done. But at what cost?" said a source who occupied a senior role at COC but has left the organization.
The Globe and Mail reported on Wednesday that an employee of the COC's foundation has lodged a complaint alleging verbal harassment. Mr. Aubut could not be reached on Thursday for a comment, but a statement released late Wednesday said: "Mr. Aubut declared that he never had the intention to offend or upset anyone with the words that he used as he fulfilled his professional duties."
Sources say the complaint further alleges the organization has been advised of other incidents involving Mr. Aubut, although it is not clear whether the mandate provided to former Quebec Superior Court Chief Justice François Rolland – who has been called in to investigate – includes an examination of those claims.
He is expected to conclude his report on Oct. 15.
The allegations against Mr. Aubut have not gone unnoticed by the COC's corporate partners.
Sources said the major sponsors of the Olympic body are closely monitoring the situation, wanting to ensure that the millions they spend every year continue to produce good-news stories related to athletic achievements.
Mr. Aubut had been a key driver of the push to increase corporate sponsorships at the COC, and was recently meeting sponsors to get them to renew their commitments.
Officials at The Royal Bank of Canada and Bell Canada Enterprises refused to comment on the matter, but a spokesperson for Canadian Tire said: "We take these allegations very seriously and have asked the COC for more information."
The Hudson's Bay Company said it will continue to support Canadian athletes. "As the COC conducts its investigation, we remain committed to Team Canada, and look forward to helping our athletes reach the podium in Rio de Janeiro in 2016," HBC said.