Gymnastics coach from Palatine charged with having sex with teen

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A gymnastics coach in north suburban Palatine has been arrested for allegedly having sex with one of his students. (WLS)

A gymnastics coach from north suburban Palatine has been arrested for allegedly having sex with one of his students.

Kendale L. Coats, 29, was charged by the Lake County State's Attorney with two counts of criminal sexual assault to a victim between 13 and 17. Coats allegedly had sex with one of his students at a Lake County hotel. Coats is a resident of Palatine, but coaches at a gymnastics facility in Lake Zurich.

At the gym where he worked, parents are in disbelief.

"My mind is blown. He's been one of my favorite coaches, so I do find it surprising," said Natali Sopterean, parent of gymnast.

At the U.S. Gymnastics training center in Lake Zurich, parents said Coats was known as "Coach Ken," teaching boys and girls of all ages.

Authorities said Coats has admitted to multiple sexual encounters with a 16-year-old Mundelein girl he was coaching. The alleged contact occurred at a Libertyville hotel and at his residence in Palatine.

"Shocked. I had many conversations with him. I'm shocked. I can't believe it," said Bogdan Sopterean, parent of gymnast.

Coats is being held in Lake County jail on $750,000 bail. He is next due in court on Feb. 21.

The charges come a day after former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to 40-175 years in prison for sexually assaulting more than 150 young gymnasts.

The scandal prompted parents to have a talk with their young athletes. In Lake Zurich, Coats' arrest is now part of that conversation.

"He seemed like a really phenomenal coach, so it's disappointing," Natali said.

Parents said Coats was an instructor at U.S. Gymnastics Training Center at least for a couple years. ABC7 Eyewitness News left messages for the owner of the facility but did not hear back.
Related Topics:
sex abusesex assaultgymnasticsPalatineLake Zurich
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