This afternoon, the Sun Sentinel posted a story claiming that FIVE girls – ages 7 to 10 – were “touched inappropriately” by Leonardo Antonio Suarez-Alvarez (age 52), a volunteer at Twins Gymnastics, a gymnastics school in Coral Springs, for years.
The girls alleged that Suarez-Alvarez touched their breasts and other parts of their bodies over their clothing. Per the Sun Sentinel, the incident(s) were previously reported to the owners. Mr. Suarez-Alvarez’s twin sisters, Maria Elena and Maria del Carmen Suarez, are the owners.
One of the older children told detectives that she reported the inappropriate behavior to to “Ms. Maria” and Maria told her that she would tell her brother to stop. However, the inappropriate behavior continued.
Despite being aware of the allegations:
- Twins Gymnastics did not remove Mr. Suarez-Alvarez from his duties.
- Twins Gymnastics did not contact the police.
- Twins Gymnastics continued to give Mr. Suarez-Alvarez access to pray on these young girls.
Per the gym’s website…
“If your child has an interest in gymnastics, or just needs a place to hang out after school in a safe location, give us a call at Twins Gymnastics.”
Detectives believe there is a possibility other victims exist and are urging people who have taken their kids to Twins Gymnastics to speak with their children and report something that could be considered inappropriate behavior.
On September 27, 2018, Coral Springs Police arrested Leonardo Antonio Suarez-Alvarez for this horrific crime. The damage to these girls is already done, however.
Like Larry Nassar, the disgraced USA Gymnastics Coach, these sick individuals pray on gymnasts and dancers – girls and boys. More needs to be done to stop child predators from having access to young children. This is especially true in “safe” areas such as schools, gyms, after hours care facilities, playgrounds, and religious establishments.
As parents, we should ask more questions of our children and of the people supervising our children. We should pay extra-close attention to gymnastic facilities, dance studios, and after school care, where young girls in leotards and tights are left alone with instructors. We should confirm that businesses perform background checks on their instructors or coaches before giving them unfettered access to our children. I know that Parkland and Coral Springs recreation leagues require its coaches to submit to a background check. This should be the norm at any location where our children congregate.
Society should also seek to financially cripple people who choose to employ (paid or volunteer) sexual predators. Twins Gymnastics may get shut down, but nothing will stop the owners from opening a new gymnastics studio under a different name. Although Mr. Suarez-Alvarez is the criminal, his actions were condoned by his employers (who happen to be family). They should be criminally responsible for their brother’s actions, because they were aware of the allegations and did nothing. NOTHING.
At a minimum, Twins Gymnastics MUST BE be held financially responsible for the past and future pain and suffering to these innocent children. Hitting businesses in their pocketbooks helps deter future actions and make businesses more accountable for their hiring decisions, training of employees, supervision of employees, and retention of employees.
If your child is a victim of sexual assault or lewd and lascivious molestation, we can help.
Let us help your child get the compensation he or she deserves.