WATERBURY, Vt. (NEWS10) — A North Adams gymnastic coach appeared in court in Vermont Thursday for arraignment on a voyeurism charge. 39-year-old Jonathan Girard is accused of having videos on his laptop of children changing in the bathroom of Central Vermont Gymnastics Academy.
Court documents show the videos were found by his fiancée. Girard claims someone installed them on his laptop, without his knowledge, while he was visiting a Vermont gym. He pleaded not guilty, and has been released under the condition that he will not have any contact with children under the age of 18.
Girard is the owner of J Star Gymnastics in North Adams. NEWS10 has learned North Adams Police conducted a search of that gym, which appeared to be closed Wednesday.
Girard’s name now appears on the U.S. Center for SafeSport Centralized Disciplinary Database. The organization was created in 2017 to address abuse in sports. It has suspended Girard from all contact with USA Gymnastics athletes and events, pending resolution of the case.
U.S. Center for SafeSport cannot comment on Girard or the investigation, but spoke to NEWS10 about the work they do to prevent abuse among young athletes, which includes two new online courses that are designed to give them the confidence to speak up.
“Youth sports should be fun above all else, and they can’t be fun unless kids are safe,” said Hilary Nemchik, Senior Director of Communications and Media Relations for the center, “so our new courses empower young athletes with knowledge, and really prepare them to set boundaries for their safety.”
In addition to the youth safety courses, the center offers numerous educational resources to prevent, recognize, and respond to abuse and misconduct in sport. If you have reasonable suspicion of abuse or misconduct inflicted on, or by, someone in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic movement, you can call 833-5US-SAFE (587-7233).