A 21-year-old Florida gymnastics coach was arrested after a mother discovered him having sex with her 13-year-old daughter.
Justin Henry has been coaching Lakeland’s Elite World Gymnastics team for some time, and the 13-year-old was reportedly one of his students. Henry allegedly had sex with her on two different occasions. The teenage girl’s mother reportedly went to check on her daughter around two in the morning on Wednesday and discovered that her door was locked. When she entered the room, she discovered Henry in the young girl’s closet, and the girl told her mother that she had been having sex with the 21-year-old. Henry wouldn’t leave the teen’s home, however, so the mother called police and he was arrested there.
Reports say this isn’t Henry’s first incident with underage girls. Back in April, Henry was apparently arrested for picking up one of his gymnastics students and two of her friends without their parents’ permission, allowing them to drink alcohol, and driving them to a beach where he reportedly groped one of them. Henry was charged with three counts of interfering with child custody, and that case is still pending.
For his most recent offense, Henry has officially been charged with lewd and lascivious battery for the two sexual encounters with the 13-year-old victim. Andrew Muzzarelli, manager of the gym where Henry used to work, says he was shocked to learn about the coach’s disturbing crimes.
“This is a guy we trusted and took in,” Muzzarelli told WSTP. “And for him to stab us in the back and do this to us, it hurts a lot.”
The 13-year-old victim’s mother says the girl’s been a gymnast since she was seven years old and has been working with Henry since June. Muzzarelli says he plans to meet with the gymnastics students’ parents to discuss ways that they ensure this never happens again.
Henry has reportedly been released on $7,500 bond.