weather icon Clear
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Ex-USA Gymnastics coach a ‘predator’ of girls in Las Vegas, report says

In an arrest report released Thursday, former USA Gymnastics coach Terry Gray was described as a physically and mentally abusive coach who inappropriately touched at least six girls in Las Vegas.

“Terry was in charge. Terry called the shots. Nobody questioned Terry,” a former coach told police about working with Gray at Brown’s Gymnastics, 5277 Cameron St., the Las Vegas gym where six of Gray’s former athletes said they were abused by the now 52-year-old.

Metropolitan Police Department officers arrested Gray on July 10 after a yearlong investigation in the coach, who was suspended by USA Gymnastics in October. There were also sexual misconduct allegations about Gray in Ohio and Southern California, according to his arrest report.

Gray has been charged with 14 felony counts of lewdness with a minor under 14, Las Vegas Justice Court records show. He was initially booked into the Clark County Detention Center without bail, but his bail was reset to $50,000 on July 13, and he was released soon after.

‘Questionable’ behavior

The nearly 70-page arrest report details interviews with parents, former coaches and accusers. The former gymnasts, some now young adults in college, said Gray was “grooming” them.

According to the report, Gray massaged girls’ upper thighs in front of athletes and coaches, sometimes pulling down their leotards. He kissed girls on the face and cheek, and occasionally on the mouth. When spotting girls practicing handstands or swinging from bars, he would position himself or touch them inappropriately, which multiple coaches told police was not normal.

One of the former gymnasts told police that “everything that Terry did was ‘questionable.’ ”

The report also detailed allegations of Gray using his teeth to “nibble” girls’ ears. One former athlete said Gray sent her a shirtless photo.

He also frequently slapped the girls’ buttocks, the report said.

“I think that’s what Terry Gray is famous for,” one gymnast said when asked about allegations of Gray slapping girls’ buttocks.

In interviews with police, the former athletes described Gray’s coaching as emotionally abusive. He weighed the girls, some as young as 10, multiple times a week. He called some “fat a–,” and made them run laps if they weighed too much, the report said.

Multiple gymnasts said they took laxatives or developed eating disorders under Gray’s coaching.

When one gymnast partially tore her rotator cuff and a doctor advised her parents against shoulder surgery, Gray encouraged her to practice an exercise to further hurt her shoulder, in order to “force surgery,” the report said.

The gymnasts’ father and his wife mentioned Gray’s behavior to the gym owner, identified in the report by her first name, “Dayna,” but she didn’t punish Gray, the report said.

“Dayna told (the parents) that she was not going to fire Terry and he was ‘highly regarded’ in the world of gymnastics,” the report said.

Other allegations

During Metro’s investigation, detectives received documents about Gray’s “rumored inappropriate acts and relationship” in Ohio. The U.S. Center for SafeSport, a federally authorized independent nonprofit that investigates allegations of abuse in sports, interviewed six people from May 2017 to August 2018 about Gray’s time in Ohio.

In 1999, Gray began coaching at the Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy, the report said. During that time, the academy’s owner confronted Gray about allegations that he brought a gymnast to his home, although Gray said it was “only to be massaged and have her legs ‘rubbed out.’ ”

SafeSport determined that Gray kissed girls’ ears and was “inappropriate” with athletes in Ohio, the report said.

In 2000, Gray admitted to another coach in Cincinnati that he was in a relationship with a gymnast who had just graduated high school. After Gray moved to Las Vegas and that gymnast graduated college, she also moved to Las Vegas and had a relationship with Gray until 2010, the report said.

The arrest report also referenced sexual abuse allegations regarding Gray at a Temecula, California, gym called SCEGA, although the report did not go into detail regarding those allegations.

According to the SafeSport website, Gray was suspended from coaching USA Gymnastics in 2019 because of alleged “sexual misconduct” involving a minor, and “physical misconduct.” The database indicated that Gray’s suspension came from an allegation out of Temecula.

He was suspended “from all contact” until Oct. 18, 2021, according to the USA Gymnastics’ website.

“We anticipate that (SafeSport) will undertake an additional investigation and, most likely, impose a lifetime ban on Mr. Gray,” USA Gymnastics said in an emailed statement sent to the Review-Journal shortly after Gray’s arrest.

Las Vegas police weren’t told about Gray until USA Gymnastics sent the department a letter in May 2019. The letter included a “sexual abuse proof of claim form” required to be filed in a civil notice in the Indianapolis Division of U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the report said.

In December 2018, USA Gymnastics filed a bankruptcy petition in Indianapolis, where the organization is based, according to The Associated Press. The petition was filed in an effort to reach settlements in dozens of sex-abuse lawsuits involving Larry Nassar, a former USA Gymnastics team doctor who is now serving life sentences for molesting athletes and possessing child pornography.

The SCEGA gym in Southern California did not respond to request for comment made by a reporter after police announced Gray’s arrest. The current owner of Brown’s Gymnastics confirmed in an email July 13 that Gray was fired from the gym but directed questions about why he was fired to the former owner.

According to Gray’s arrest report, the gym’s former owner hired Gray around 2012 to coach “elite” gymnasts. The alleged victims that police spoke to were “among the highest levels that can be attained by a USA gymnast,” with some aiming for the Olympics, the report said.

The mother of one of the gymnasts, who was also an employee at Brown’s Gym, told officers that Gray was fired shortly after a group of parents complained to the owner around August 2015.

When she first spoke with police in December, the gym’s former owner said Gray was a “predator” and compared him to Nassar.

“Dayna stated that the ‘history of abuse in gymnastics is a very long and sad one,’” the report said. “Dayna then stated ‘do I think Terry was a part of that system, the corruption, the ‘I like young girls and can get away with it’? Absolutely.’”

She told police that while she received complaints about Gray, no gymnasts disclosed sexual abuse. She did admit to knowing that two other coaches saw Gray kissing a former gymnast who had recently graduated high school.

Other former employees accused the woman of destroying files containing complaints against Gray, the report said.

In February, the former owner stopped cooperating with the Metro investigation after police attempted to obtain her records, and a detective declined to show her a USA Gymnastics letter describing the sexual abuse allegations, the report said.

The owner of Gymcats Gymnastics, also in Las Vegas, told police she witnessed Gray massaging the “inner and outer parts of (a gymnast’s) thighs,” and said he placed his hands too close to the girl’s “crotch area.” The owner, identified in the report by her fist name, “Cassie,” told police that “years later” she spoke to another Brown’s Gymnastics coach about what she saw, and then reported Gray to SafeSport.

Cassie Rice, the owner of Gymcats Gymnastics in Henderson, did not immediately respond to request for comment on Thursday afternoon.

Gray is due to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on Aug. 27, court records show.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.