Brazil’s former gymnastics coach Fernando de Carvalho Lopes, right, denies sexual abuse accusations, during his testimony to a Senate Committee, in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, May 16, 2018. Lopes suggested that his accusers might have aligned their stories or been coached and said he wasn’t sure why the athletes would do such a thing. (Eraldo Peres/Associated Press)

SAO PAULO — A former coach of the Brazilian national gymnastics team told a Senate committee Wednesday that he is innocent of allegations he sexually abused athletes and said the claims might stem from a conspiracy against him.

A Brazilian news show revealed last month that dozens of gymnasts and former gymnasts have accused Fernando de Carvalho Lopes of abusing them, including watching them shower, touching their genitals and asking them to masturbate in front of him.

Police are investigating.

Lopes appeared before a Senate committee and suggested that his accusers might have aligned their stories or been coached.

He said he wasn’t sure why the athletes would do such a thing. But he added that he was a strict coach and had probably caused more discontent than satisfaction over the years.

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