Bob Birarda will be sentenced later this year for 4 charges related to 4 victims

A former head coach of both the Vancouver Whitecaps women’s team and Canadian under-20 women’s soccer team has pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault and one count of touching a young person for a sexual purpose.

Bob Birarda entered guilty pleas in court in North Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday morning to charges spanning from 1988 to 2006, involving four separate victims.

Birarda appeared through a video link from his lawyer’s downtown office and sat with his hands clasped together as a judge read each of the four charges to him.

“I plead guilty, your honour,” Birarda said in response to the judge.

A parting of ways

Birarda will be sentenced later this year after a pair of court-ordered reports are prepared to assess his future risk of offending.

The judge set a date of Feb. 15 for a next appearance to fix a date for sentencing and ordered both reports to be completed by April 5.

Bob Birarda pictured in an interview with CBC News in 2007. Birarda has pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault and one count of touching a young person for a sexual purpose. (CBC News)

The identity of the victims is protected by a publication ban. CBC has learned that all are former soccer players.

Birarda was initially charged with nine offences, but those were substituted Tuesday for a charge sheet containing 10 counts, including invitation to sexual touching and communicating via a computer to lure a child under the age of 18.

No pleas were entered on the remaining counts, which will likely be stayed or dismissed at the time of sentencing.

Birarda’s lawyer, William Smart, sat to his left side. Birarda, who wore an open-necked shirt and a suit jacket as he entered the pleas, appeared nervous. At one point, he took notes.

Busby was quietly let go from his job as Whitecaps women’s team head coach in 2011 after players brought complaints to club executives. Players were told not to speak publicly about his dismissal.

Former Whitecaps player Malloree Enoch went public last fall with allegations that Busby sexually coerced and assaulted her while he was recruiting her to the Whitecaps in 2010 and 2011. Busby has denied the allegations.

By MD Abdullah

Abdullah is a former educator, lifelong money nerd, and a Plutus Award-winning freelance writer who specializes in the scientific research behind irrational money behaviors. Her background in education allows her to make complex financial topics relatable and easily understood by the layperson. She is the author of four books, including End Financial Stress Now and The Five Years Before You Retire.

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