South Florida gymnastics coach faces new charge from 2004 complaint

Carl Lechner arrested last month on child porn charges


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A South Florida gymnastics coach arrested last month on child pornography charges now faces a new charge stemming from an 11-year-old complaint.

Carl Lechner, who was still in jail after his July 31 arrest, now faces a charge of sexual battery on a person under the age of 12. The 66-year-old's additional charge comes after a Broward Sheriff's Office detective interviewed the alleged victim, now 21, in August.

She said Lechner repeatedly had her play a game during which she hid her face and kept her eyes closed while he sexually battered her, a probable cause affidavit said.

The woman said Lechner took a picture of her wearing a red dress without any panties. She said Lechner warned her that if she told anyone about what was happening, he would show the picture to her guardians and they would "know she was a bad girl."

Lechner's actions went on between 1999 and 2003, from the time the woman was 3 to 7, the affidavit said.

A complaint was first filed in 2004, but Lechner was never charged.

Lechner, who lives in Lauderdale Lakes, worked at CATS Gymnastics, a children's fitness center in Jupiter, at the time of his initial arrest.

Detectives said Lechner owned and operated TAG USA Gymnastics in Weston from 1989 to 2010 and in Davie from 1989 to 2000. They said he also ran a youth summer camp at the Lauderdale Isles Yacht & Tennis Club in Fort Lauderdale.

In addition to his most recent charge, Lechner also faces seven counts of possession of child pornography, one count of compiling computer pornography, three counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and one count of possession of ammunition by a convicted felon.

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