Complaints and "red flag" behavior ignored for years

USA Gymnastics (USAG) coach Terry Gray faces sexual abuse charges after a year-long investigation by the Las Vegas Metro Police. Gray is facing 14 counts of lewdness or indecency with a minor under 14. 

Gray had been hired by Brown’s Gymnastics in 2012 to coach elite gymnasts. Gray’s case is another example of organizations such as USA Gymnastics or USA Swimming refuse to take action when coaches abuse their authority to abuse victims sexually. 

The Las Vegas Metro Police Department was unaware of Terry Gray until USA Gymnastics sent a letter to them in May 2019. The letter contained a “sexual abuse proof of claim form,” a required public notice from the Indianapolis Division of U.S. Bankruptcy Court. USA Gymnastics had been in the process of filing bankruptcy stemming from the Larry Nassar lawsuits settlements. Within this claim form, a female victim claimed Gray had given full-body massages before practice and nibbled her ear often. After taking a required sexual abuse class, she realized that Gray was grooming her and probably grooming others. This letter ignited a year-long investigation into Terry Gray’s sexual misconduct behaviors.   

Las Vegas Metro Police created a 70-page arrest report, which identified at least six female victims who were inappropriately touched. Most of the illegal and inappropriate incidents involved kissing, touching, and nibbling victims’ ears. He would often slap the girls’ buttocks and position himself to touch them during handstands or while on the bars. Terry Gray used his position as a coach to groom his victims through favoritism. The gymnasts knew he preferred blondes with blue eyes, so many had dyed their hair blonde. Gray banned shorts over the leotards while exercising to see the girls’ exposed buttocks. He also massaged girls’ thighs to the point where he was near their crotch. Gray would often emotionally abuse the gymnasts too. He would weigh the gymnasts several times a week, and if they had gained weight, he would call them names, have them run laps or do excessive high-intensity workouts. According to news reports, the girls started developing eating disorders or taking laxatives. 

Complaints often disappear without action.

Despite complaints from parents, Gray was not fired immediately from Brown’s Gymnastics. The owner, Dayna Waroe, told parents that she did not want to fire him because he was “highly regarded” in gymnastics. Waroe told police that she did receive some complaints, but none mentioned sexual misconduct. She eventually fired Gray in August 2015 for physical and mental abuse, not sexual abuse. Other coaches at Brown’s Gymnastics saw Gray kissing some of the girls and also witnessed Waroe destroying files containing the complaints. Cassie Rice, the owner of Gymcats Gymnastics, told police that she also saw Gray massaging the girls’ thighs and putting his hands near their crotch area. Unfortunately, she did not report that to SafeSport until years later. 

Not surprisingly, the incidents at Brown’s Gymnastics were not isolated events. According to an investigation from SafeSport, they interviewed six people from May 2017 to August 2018 about Gray’s coaching in Ohio and California too. He had been at Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy in 1999. While there, he was also kissing and nibbling girls’ ears. In 2000, he admitted to another coach that he was in a relationship with a female gymnast who just graduated high school. Gray was in a ten-year relationship with this gymnast, even after he left for Las Vegas. In October 2019, when he was coaching at SCEGA Gymnastics in Temecula, California, SafeSport suspended Gray following another sexual misconduct report with a minor. USA Gymnastics suspended Gray “from all contact” until October 18th, 2021. The Las Vegas Metro Police finally arrested Gray in July 2020. Initially, Gray had no bail, but the bail changed to $50,000. He posted bond and is awaiting further court appearances.      

When complaints are not good enough, you need to take legal action!

Crimes of sexual misconduct happen more often than you can imagine. Sexual predators are everywhere kids congregate, especially in schools and sports. They use their authority to gain not only the child’s trust but also the parents’ trust. Grooming starts slowly. Showing favoritism is often one method predators shower affection on a child. It reinforces a positive relationship at first. However, predators then begin to add a physical touch to the mix, often so subtly that it is easy to misconstrue it as non-sexual. But what Terry Gray did, for instance, is wrong, and it is illegal. He is a sexual predator that manipulated and abused these young girls through mind games, inappropriate touching, and emotional trauma. There are still unidentified sexual predators lurking in schools and sports. Predators are still gaining access to children, and they must be held accountable for their actions.  

It can take a long time to identify that you or someone you love was a sexual assault victim. Victims often try to hide or suppress the trauma from a sexual assault. It is ok to seek help and justice to restore your sense of dignity and honor. Our legal team at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard are here to help you. We are experts in helping sexual assault victims seek justice against the predator and the organization that enabled them to hurt innocent people. It is time to take action today! For a free and confidential consultation, please call our office at (408) 289-1417.

Sources:

https://www.reviewjournal.com/crime/sex-crimes/ex-usa-gymnastics-coach-a-predator-of-girls-in-las-vegas-report-says-2080196/

https://www.ktnv.com/news/crime/report-details-years-of-alleged-abuse-by-former-gymnastics-coach-terry-gray