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Boyer faces molestation charge

By VeloNews Interactive

This report filed July 24, 2002

Jonathan Boyer, the first American to compete in the Tour de France, has been charged with 10 felony counts of child molestation in Monterey County, in California.

According to a report in the Salinas Californian,Boyer, who first raced in the Tour in 1981, was arrested in May in Seaside, California, after a 16-year-old girl alleged that the 46-year-old Boyer had molested her for at least a year, beginning five years ago. Boyer posted $300,000 bail in the case and was released.

Last week Boyer made his first court appearance in the case, where the presiding judge scheduled a preliminary hearing for August 9, in Salinas, California.

Boyer is facing a total of ten felony charges that combined carry a maximum penalty of 80 years..

"It's a very unfortunate situation," Boyer told the Californian. "I don't really want to talk about it. I can't really comment."

Boyer began competing in the Tour in 1981, finishing 12th in 1983. Though a pioneer of sorts, Boyer's time in the European peloton was overshadowed by the appearance of another young American, Greg LeMond. The two engaged in an open battle after a controversial finish at the 1982 world championship in which Boyer charged that LeMond had actually chased him down as he was sprinting for a win. Giuseppi Saronni eventually won that race, while LeMond took the silver.

Boyer also made a name for himself in the U.S. when he returned in 1985 to win the Race Across America in convincing fashion, bettering a field of ultra-marathon specialists. Since his retirement from the sport, Boyer has been involved in several cycling business ventures and now runs a shop in Seaside, California.

The case outlined by the district attorney's office charges that Boyer began molesting the unnamed victim in the case in 1998, when she was 11 years old. The case also alleges that Boyer "engaged in substantial sexual conduct" with the girl.

Monterey County Deputy District Attorney Tim Roberts told the newspaper that the charges involve only a single victim and declined to comment on the relationship Boyer might have with the victim