Tampa Bay Gymnastics Coach Charged with Lewd and Lascivious Battery

Hillsborough County Deputies arrested a 21-year-old coach at Elite World Gymnastics in Lakeland after he allegedly had sex with a 13-year-old girl.

The girl’s mother apparently found him hiding in the teen’s closet.

The man has been charged with lewd and lascivious behavior for two incidents with the 13-year-old girl. Police believe the most recent incident was Monday.

The girl allegedly told her mother that they had consensual sex.

The man posted a $7500 bond and was released from Hillsborough County Jail Wednesday afternoon.

According to deputies with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the girl’s mother woke up around 2 a.m. to check on her daughter, but found her door was locked. She eventually got inside the room and allegedly found the accused hiding in the closet.

According to police, this most recent arrest is his second this year involving young girls.

Clearwater Police stopped the man and three 14-year-old girls in April. Records show the girls had been drinking, and the man put his hand on one of the girl’s thighs and asked her about being his girlfriend.

Investigators claim one of those girls was enrolled in a tumbling class at Elite World Gymnastics.

It is unclear whether or not the man was still employed between the time of his April arrest and now.

Lewd and lascivious battery, also known as statutory rape, occurs when an individual partakes in sexual activity with someone who is at least 12 years old but less than 16 years old. Similar to sexual battery, sexual activity in regards to a lewd and lascivious battery charge means oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by the sexual organ of another, or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object. Different from a sexual battery charge, consent cannot be used as a defense to the crime of lewd and lascivious battery.

If you have been charged with lewd and lascivious battery, it is in your best interest to retain legal help from a Florida Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist with your charges and will work tirelessly to get you the best possible result for your case. We understand that the nature of these charges are quite sensitive and will do whatever we can to make sure they are kept as private as possible. For a free consultation to learn more about how we may be able to help you, please call us today statewide and toll-free at 866-608-5529 or contact us online.