Gymnastics coach suspended after sexual abuse charges involving special needs athletes

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Thursday, October 29, 2015
Gymnastics coach behind bars
A suburban gymnastics coach has been charged with sexually abusing two children with special needs.

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (WLS) -- A suburban gymnastics coach accused of sexually abusing two young athletes with special needs has been suspended, according to Special Olympics Illinois.

Patricia Hermann, 48, of Schaumburg, Ill., is charged with three counts of sexual battery against a minor and one count of aggravated sexual battery in Cobb County, Georgia, where the athletes were participating in a competition last spring.

In a statement on Thursday, the Special Olympics Illinois said: "Special Olympics is aware of the allegations against Patricia Hermann. Special Olympics Illinois takes the safety and wellbeing of its athletes seriously, which is why it conducts background checks on all volunteers who register to coach. The background check on Ms. Hermann revealed no criminal history. Because the names of the alleged victims have not been released, we cannot verify if those involved are associated with Special Olympics. However, we are prepared to cooperate with law enforcement, if needed, as they investigate this matter. Special Olympics Illinois has nonetheless suspended Ms. Hermann from all coaching and volunteer activities."

Hermann has coached and worked with children with Down syndrome for decades. She held practices in Hanover Park and other places throughout the suburbs.

Investigators said Hermann was staying at a hotel northwest of Atlanta when she allegedly fondled two girls.

"Apparently when they returned home they independently talked with their parents and at some point while they were there at the hotel, both girls mentioned to their parents that they had been sexually assaulted," said Cobb County Police Sgt. Dana Pierce.

Hermann is in Cook County Jail, officials said, and expected to be extradited to Georgia.