Texas

Texas gymnastics coach arrested on sex crimes has ties to Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) — The WAFB I-TEAM has learned that a Texas gymnastics coach who was arrested last week for sexual misconduct has ties to a facility in the Baton Rouge area.

Michael Spiller, 75, was jailed last week and now faces legal trouble after he was accused of inappropriately touching his students. So far, five people – including children – have made allegations against Spiller, and lawyer Meredith Stratigopoulos says there may be more victims.

“Given the allegations from Kendall County from the early 2000s through 2022 when my client brings hers, I expect more claims and allegations will be made over the next few months,” Stratigopoulos said.

The lawyer, representing a 9-year-old girl, recently filed a lawsuit alleging Spiller put his hand under her leotard during practice in April.

“What’s really fascinating is that kids are really intuitive. Children know when something is right and when something is wrong, especially when it comes to their own bodies. But what they often don’t see and don’t understand is that if they come forward and say something is wrong, there’s a chance that something will change,” Stratigopoulos said.

Spiller’s long career dates back to the 1970’s and he has worked with kids on mats in Texas, California and even abroad. According to posts on Facebook, Spiller previously hosted a practice session at Leaps and Bounds in Denham Springs in 2017 and 2019. The WAFB contacted the owner of the sports center. The owner released the following statement.

WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked the attorney if it’s possible there are other gyms Spiller has worked with or other places he’s had contact with children in Louisiana.

“Sure. I think it’s possible that based on what’s available on his website, he’s worked with various gymnastics centers across the country and hosted his own camps with various organizations. He lists the Boys and Girls on his website Club and YMCA, Stratigopoulos said, “He taught all over the country and I would expect him to have access to a minor anywhere and there should be a question as to what happened in that interaction.”

The lawyer hopes that Spiller will have to answer for what he is accused of and that something like this will never happen again.

“There is a trust that has been built between coaches and people who have access to children through gymnastics centers and parents expect their children to be safe when they are sent there and to know that a monster is taking advantage of that, it is something that is really heartbreaking. added Stratigopoulos.

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