(NEW YORK POST) – A former volunteer gymnastics coach in Missouri is accused of molesting at least six young girls — and investigators “wouldn’t be surprised” if there are additional victims.
David Schneider, 41, was charged Tuesday with three counts of child molestation after a former gymnast from the Kids in Motion gym in Washington, Mo., told police last month that Schneider abused her about five years ago as she was stretching, according to court documents cited by the St. Louis Dispatch.
Schneider, who worked as a volunteer coach from 2011 through 2014, has admitted to touching the students inappropriately, but claimed his hands slipped into the girls’ genital area because their bodies were sweaty at the time.
Schneider also admitted to “making no alteration to his routine despite the fact that sometimes it would lead to inappropriate touching,” Sgt. Steve Sitzes told The Post on Thursday.
Sitzes said three additional victims have come forward since Schneider’s arrest on Tuesday, and he believes additional victims in the case are possible.
“Given the amount of children that he’s been around, I wouldn’t be surprised,” Sitzes told The Post. “It wouldn’t shock me, no.”
It’s unclear when additional charges will be filed, Sitzes said. Investigators have yet to interview the three alleged victims who came forward after Schneider’s arrest, he said.
“Our next step is to investigate anything that comes in and try to get these interviews lined up,” Sitzes said. “Then we’ll present those reports to a prosecutor. But we had to act on the three victims that we had.”
The first victim told police that Schneider, who remains jailed on $100,000 bond, “used his hand to go under her shorts and grab the area of her vagina over her leotard” on several occasions while spotting her, the Washington Missourian reports.
A second victim said Schneider put his hand beneath her shorts and leotard, touching her genitals several times. She also reported seeing Schneider touch the first victim inappropriately.
A third victim told police that Schneider touched her genitals with his fingers as she was practicing splits. All of the alleged abuse occurred in 2013 and 2014, according to online court records cited by the newspaper.
Schneider has also worked as a swim team coach for the Four Rivers Area Family YMCA, where he worked for at least a decade after helping launch the program in the mid-2000s, according to the Washington Missourian, citing the YMCA’s website. YMCA officials said no allegations had been received against him.
Schneider was recognized in 2015 by Washington Optimist Club with its annual Friend of the Youth Award for his work with the swim team and as a volunteer gymnastics coach, according to the Washington Missourian.
Sitzes, meanwhile, said there’s no indication as of Thursday that the victims in the case came forward due to the publicity surrounding the sentencing of disgraced USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor Larry Nassar, who received his third and final prison sentence on Monday for sexually abusing more than 250 women and girls. Nassar was also sentenced last month to 40 to 175 years in another Michigan county courtroom by Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who at the time declared that she had just signed Nassar’s “death warrant.”
Schneider, who is married with children, remains jailed at the Franklin County Detention Center. He does not have a listed attorney.