Former USA Gymnastics coach faces charges of lewdness with a minor

Marie Fazio, The New York Times

Posted at Jul 13 2020 07:00 AM

A former coach for USA Gymnastics was arrested in Las Vegas on Friday and faces more than a dozen counts of lewdness with a minor, the authorities said.

The former coach, Terry Gray, 52, was a gymnastics coach in Las Vegas from 2009 to 2015 and was suspended last year from coaching by USA Gymnastics, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said.

Gray “is not permitted any contact with any USA Gymnastics-sanctioned event, member club, professional member or athlete involved with USA Gymnastics member clubs or events,” according to an online record of suspended coaches maintained by USA Gymnastics.

It was not immediately clear what led to the suspension, which lasts until October 2021. It was also not clear when he was a coach for USA Gymnastics.

Regarding his suspension, the organization cited sections of its rules that give USA Center for SafeSport jurisdiction over investigations of sexual misconduct within USA Gymnastics and that prohibit members who are suspended from participating in any USA Gymnastics activities or competitions.

SafeSport, which was formed in 2017 by the U.S. Olympic Committee, investigates allegations of sexual misconduct for sports under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, including USA Gymnastics.

USA Gymnastics and SafeSport did not immediately respond to requests for comment Saturday.

If convicted, Gray could face a maximum sentence of life in prison, Stephen Wolfson, the district attorney of Clark County in Nevada, said Saturday. Wolfson could not elaborate on details about the charges, including when the episodes were said to have taken place.

In Nevada, the lewdness charge involves a victim being touched “with the intent of arousing or appealing or gratifying the victim or the offender,” Wolfson said.

Gray, who was charged with 14 counts of lewdness with a minor under the age of 14, was being held in the Clark County Detention Center without bail and is scheduled to appear in court Monday. It was not immediately clear Saturday whether he had a lawyer.

Gray continued to work as a gymnastics coach at a club in Temecula, California, while the SafeSport investigation was proceeding, The Orange County Register reported in 2018.

John Manly, a lawyer who represents about 200 gymnasts who are suing USA Gymnastics, including one of Gray’s former athletes, said Gray had coached at gyms in California, Nevada and Ohio throughout his career.

“This isn’t just any gymnastics coach,” Manly said, “this is somebody who coached national team athletes, world champion athletes and Olympic athletes.”

His clients are among those who sued USA Gymnastics for failing to protect them from Larry Nassar, a former doctor for the USA Gymnastics national team. In 2018, Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for multiple sex crimes.

A documentary, “Athlete A,” released last month on Netflix, chronicles the abuses.

After the documentary was released, the chief executive of USA Gymnastics, Li Li Leung, said in a statement that “within USA Gymnastics, under an entirely new leadership team, we have implemented stronger policies and preventive measures, launched multiple educational efforts, and made sweeping organizational, leadership and personnel changes.”

“Most importantly, we have prioritized changing the subculture within our community that allowed this to happen,” the statement continued. “We owe these survivors an incredible debt of gratitude for igniting these changes across the sport.”

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