August 19, 2016 07:09pm
Pedophile Olympic Coaches Exposed
Source: Radar Online
by: Melissa Cronin
The US Women's Gymnastics team was the picture of Olympic glory as they collected their gold medals on August 9, 2016. But behind the smiles and shining hardware lies a disgusting, dark secret that has tainted the heart of the entire USA Gymnastics organization: A legacy of child sex abuse and child pornography.
Earlier this month, an investigation by the IndyStar reported that in many cases, the USA Gymnastics board knew about the offenses perpetrated by some of its coaches, but failed to take action to protect child gymnasts. Over the years, dozens have ultimately been banned for life from the sport for what they did, and in a special investigation RadarOnline.com reveals the horrifying details of just a few of those on the black list.
Connecticut gymnastics coach Vincent Pozzouli was first convicted of assault in 1994, when a jury found that he made "offensive physical contact" with a male gymnastics student. According to court documents obtained by Radar, the victim testified that Pozzouli "approached him during their first night [on a trip to a Maine gym]. Pozzouli reached under the sleeping bag covering the victim and ran his hands over the victim's legs. The victim stayed silent and pretended to be asleep. Pozzuoli moved his hands over the victim's thighs and around his hip area. At one point, Pozzuoli slid his hand under the victim's boxer shorts and put his hand over the victim's penis, then slowly moved his hand back down the victim's leg. Pozzuoli then licked the victim's hand and touched the lower part of his legs at which point the victim kicked Pozzouli in the neck to make him stop." Sixteen years later, he pleaded guilty to fourth-degree sexual assault after a young boy claimed he put his hands under the boy's shorts while stretching. And two years after that, his probation officer found that he had actually visited the same Maine gymnastics school where the 1994 incident took place, and Pozzouli admitted the violation. He is currently on the sex offender registry and USA Gymnastics banned list.
William Permenter pleaded guilty to fondling a teenage girl on April 15, 1985. But six months after he got out of jail, he was hired by a Florida Community Education program to coach gymnastics! Luckily, his probation officer stumbled upon the course catalog - with the sex fiend's name inside - before he could be accused of hurting any of his charges. But did the gym do their own background check? His probation officer, Brian O'Neill, said at the time, "It wasn't great investigative work on my part." Permenter was sent back to jail for a year for the probation violation. He is currently on the USA Gymnastics lifelong ban list, and the national sex offender registry.
Chicago gymnastics coach Vernor Gumila was sentenced to 30 months probation and placed on the USA Gymnastics banned list in July 2011, after cops found a treasure trove of child porn at his home. "We are not talking about one image. This was not an accident," Assistant State Attorney Reagan McGuire said in court at the time. According to court documents obtained by Radar, Police Chief Steven Huffman testified, "On a daily basis, he would go on to the Internet to look at pornography, and for about ... The past five years he had been looking at child pornography on his computer." Huffman claimed Gumila said he was particularly interested in pictures of children "between 13 and 15 because they were just starting to develop." He is still on the national sex offender registry.
In April 2005, Robert Shawler was sentenced to three years in state prison after several girls from his gym came forward to claim he had molested them. One victim, Courtney, testified in court, "I was just 12 when Robert first touched me. From that day on, my life changed. I didn't know what to do. I spent so many nights crying." Deputy District Attorney Joni Leventis told the court there were as many as 23 victims. Shawl's attorney made the shocking claim that the coach himself had been a victim of a child sex predator in his youth. "This doesn't excuse his conduct but it helps the court see why he did what he did," William Gagen said in court. Shawler is still on the USA Gymnastics banned list, and the national sex offender registry for lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14.
Raymond Adams, a gymnastics coach from Deerfield Beach, Florida, pleaded no contest to two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation involving a ten-year-old girl in 2009. As part of that plea deal, he was sent to prison for 15 years. But it was hardly his first offense. In 1998, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor battery charge after he was accused of molesting his young students at gyms in Missouri and Illinois. After that, he was convicted in federal court of possession of child pornography. He is on the USA Gymnastics banned list and national sex offender registry.
Wisconsin coach Patrick Okopinski was charged with 26 counts of possession of child pornography after he was caught downloading and viewing child porn at his gym, All Star Gymnastics in Madison. Okopinksi was eventually sentenced to three months in prison, and apologized in court. He's still on the banned list and national sex offender registry.
Coach Kristopher Berry was sentenced to five years in prison after a jury found him guilty of soliciting a minor. He was arrested in January 2010 and accused of giving a 14-year-old gymnastics student a cellphone so he could sext her. According to court documents obtained by Radar, he texted the girl claiming he wanted to get her "out of her panties," and wrote, "I can see us having sex, but the kiss should be interesting." The court documents state that the victim, "admitted that [Berry] had kissed her in the gym's office during a practice session." He is still on the banned list and the national sex offender registry.
Jeffrey LeFevre was sentenced to 45 months to 15 years in prison for third-degree criminal sexual conduct in 2012, over claims he had an inappropriate relationship with a 14-year-old student. He was accused of having sex with a 14-year-old girl he coached in a car outside of their Michigan gym. Undersheriff Mike McCabe said at the time that he had given the girl underwear, and a camera, and asked her to send him raunchy photos. He is on the banned list for USA Gymnastics, and the national sex offender registry.
Dr. David Martinus Reiakvam, a former dentist, pleaded guilty to two counts of committing lewd acts on a minor in 2012, after he was accused of molesting two of his gymnastics students in California. Detective Laura Ellefson testified in court that one victim said he would put her through a twisted scenario called a "touching game," that eventually involved oral sex and intercourse itself. He is still on the national sex offender registry and the banned list.
These are just a few of the dozens of dark stories hidden behind the shipping examples of Olympic glory. For more on USA Gymnastics' disturbing secrets, stay with RadarOnline.com.