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August 8th, 2016

Montgomery County Pennsylvania Gymnastics Coach Charged with Sex Abuse of Young Girl

Gymnastics coach Daniel Erb of Hatboro faces multiple, serious criminal charges. Erb is accused of sexually abusing a young girl over a three year period, beginning when she was just 8 years old. According to a press release from the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, Erb’s relationship to the girl is unclear. The news release indicates that the abuse occurred while Erb assumed a “caretaker” role over the girl. Thus far, there is no evidence that the abuse occurred in Erb’s capacity as a gymnastics teacher.

Related: PA & NJ Sex Abuse Cases – Abusers Often Groom Victims

Currently, there are two criminal cases against Erb in the Montgomery County Magisterial District Court. He faces 48 counts in one case and 5 counts in the other. The charges include:

  • Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse with a Child
  • Indecent Assault Person Less than 13 Years of Age
  • Endangering Welfare of Children
  • Unlawful Contact with a Minor
  • Criminal Use of Communication Facility
  • Corruption of Minors

Preliminary hearings are currently set for August 15 and August 18.

U.S. Gymnastics Under Fire for Widespread Sex Abuse of Gymnasts

This recent case comes after a recent investigative report by the Indianapolis Star into the reporting practices of USA Gymnastics, the governing body for gymnastics in the U.S. According to the report, USA Gymnastics relied on a policy that “enabled predators to abuse gymnasts long after USA Gymnastics had received warnings [of sex abuse by coaches].”

In one example, the report highlighted a case in Georgia where a coach continued to have access to young female gymnasts after USA Gymnastics ignored the first of four warnings about the coach. Two former officials at the organization were deposed in a 2013 sex abuse lawsuit and admitted that the organization dismissed sex abuse allegations unless they came directly from a victim or their parents.

The Indianapolis Star’s report details four instances in which coaches continued to abuse young girls, even after USA Gymnastics had received complaints of sex abuse.

  • Marvin Sharp – a gym coach who killed himself after he was charged with sex abuse crimes. In 2011, USA Gymnastics received a detailed complaint about Sharp but waited 4 years to report him to police. This was only after another abuse allegation surfaced – taking sexually explicit pictures of a 12 year old girl.
  • Mark Schiefelbein – a gym coach who is serving a prison sentence of aggravated sexual battery (of a 10 year old). According to the report, USA Gymnastics compiled a file of complaints years before the 10 year old girl’s parents went to police in 2002. The Indy Star’s report indicated, “The girl’s family was shocked to discover the history of complaints against Schiefelbein, which came to light only after prosecutors subpoenaed records from USA Gymnastics.”
  • James Bell – another gym coach who is serving time in prison for child molestation. Like the other cases, USA Gymnastics had compiled a file of sexual misconduct at least 5 years before he was arrested for molesting young girls at a gym in Rhode Island.
  • William McCabe – yet another gymnastics coach who is serving a federal prison term for sexually exploiting children. The Indy Star’s report showed that USA Gymnastics had received lengthy complaints from other gym owners about McCabe’s behavior. The first complaint was received in 1998, and one year later, the gym coach began molesting a girl according to federal authorities. He continued coaching children for 7 more years. The report also indicated that the organization never went to law enforcement. McCabe was eventually arrested after a parent went to the FBI.

For more news about criminal and civil sex abuse cases, visit our law library.