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Four former East German swimming coaches were charged with causing bodily harm for giving anabolic steroids to 17 teen-age girls from 1974 to '89.

The charges were the first to result from a criminal investigation into steroid use in East German sports. More cases are expected to follow as the investigation continues.

The four were accused of causing bodily harm by feeding anabolic steroids to the athletes "without telling them or their parents, or answering honestly when asked" what they were being given, although the coaches were aware the steroids could have harmful side-effects.

Two of the coaches charged, Dieter Lindemann and Volker Frischke, were hired by the German national team after unification but were recently suspended because of the investigation.

Lindemann, 46, former coach of Olympic medalist Franziska van Almsick, faces four counts of causing bodily harm. Frischke, 53, coach of European champion Kerstin Kielgass, faces eight counts.

Rolf Glaeser, 57, who was hired by the Austrian swim team after German unification, faces nine counts. One former protege, 1980 Olympic medalist Christiane Knacke, has called him "one of the most aggressive anabolic steroid coaches" in former East Germany.

Also charged with three counts was Dieter Krause, 50, who no longer is a coach.

They face up to three years in prison if convicted.

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