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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

France Galop committee member resigns after abuse allegations

Former champion jockey's son files court papers citing assaults

France Galop headquarters in the Paris suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt
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Jose Bruneau de La Salle, a well-known figure in French racing and a member of the France Galop committee, has resigned from all posts with the governing body amid allegations in a leading newspaper that he sexually abused two minors. 

Le Parisien reported on Sunday evening that one of the two is Gregory Pieux, son of 15-time champion jump jockey Christophe, who has filed court papers citing a series of incidents over a six-year period up until 2009. 

A second man, Jeremy Garamond, is reported to be pursuing a civil case for damages against La Salle relating to behaviour dating back more than 20 years. 

Now 22, Gregory Pieux told the paper that La Salle, an owner and racing manager who was a close friend of his father, was a frequent visitor to their house in Lamorlaye, near Chantilly, between 2003 to 2009. 

In the interview Pieux recalled La Salle – who strongly denies the claims made in the court deposition – as being "confident and charismatic, a person who, when he spoke, everyone listened." Pieux also described his alleged abuser as "fascinating and open" as well as being "very easy to get close to at a young age."

The report quotes Pieux's accounts of several incidents as well as reprinting a letter that he claims he received from La Salle in 2015 and which appears to apologise for behaviour that went "beyond the bounds of decency".

Christophe Pieux and Kasbah Bliss after the French champion won the Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock in 2009

The plaintive's father, Christophe Pieux, is the most successful rider in the history of French jump racing, having notched 15 Cravaches d'Or as champion jockey. He counts three victories in the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris among more than 2,000 career successes. 

In a communique, France Galop confirmed president Edouard de Rothschild had accepted the resignation letter from 72-year-old La Salle on Sunday. 

La Salle was a member of the council on jump racing and the governing body's delegate charged with administrative matters at  Maisons-Laffitte racecourse. 

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The plaintive's father, Christophe Pieux, is the most successful rider in the history of French jump racing, having notched 15 Cravaches d'Or

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