MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A dark cloud has hung over the sport of gymnastics since the Larry Nassar case exposed that hundreds of young gymnasts had been abused by the former team doctor.
In the wake of that scandal, USA Gymnastics publishes a list of suspended members — and a Minnesota man is now on that list.
Before being fired last month, the man was a coach at TAGS in Eden Prairie. That’s when a phone sex worker in New Jersey alerted authorities here about some disturbing calls she had received.
She told officers that he called from the gym in Eden Prairie and talked about sex with the young children he coached. She later gave police recordings of the calls.
Officers in New Hope investigated, since that’s where the man lives. He told police the calls were just fantasies and that he never acted on them. New Hope police closed the case because they say they couldn’t find evidence of a crime, and no victims came forward.
USA Gymnastics tells WCCO-TV they recently suspended the coach’s membership and restricted him from all contact with athletes and other members, pending a hearing. The U.S. Center for SafeSport is now exercising jurisdiction over this matter.
WCCO-TV not naming the coach because he has not been charged with a crime.
A representative with TAGS says they notified parents of these allegations and held a meeting for parents and kids. They are also offering counseling for anyone who might need it. They also gave us this statement:
TAGS Gymnastics has been dedicated to the safety and success of its athletes for 42 years. We are all very shocked and saddened by this situation.
As the safety of our athletes has always been our first priority, TAGS dealt with this situation by taking immediate action which resulted in this employee’s termination. The police conducted an investigation that we fully cooperated with and the report determined that no further action was necessary. TAGS reported to SafeSport, and the employee has since been placed on USA Gymnastics’ interim suspension list, pending a hearing. In addition, TAGS is in the process of conducting its own internal investigation.
Our community has been informed and we are all working together to ensure the continued safety of our athletes.