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Langley Gymnastics coach charged with sexual interference
A coach with Langley Gymnastics remains behind bars after being arrested and charged with sexual interference.
John William Henry, 32, of Abbotsford, was arrested last Thursday (March 6) and has been remanded in custody on his own accord. He next appears in court on Friday, March 14.
Henry has been a coach with the Langley Gymnastics Foundation for the past four years. The allegations against him involve an athlete under the age of 16 at Langley Gymnastics, said police.
Langley RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Holly Marks said police began their investigation last Thursday after receiving a report alleging inappropriate conduct by Henry.
By the next day, Henry was arrested and Crown counsel approved a charge of sexual interference with a person under the age of 16.
“This is a fairly significant allegation and this individual was in a position of trust, so his arrest had to be swift,” Marks said.
The Langley RCMP’s serious crime unit is handling the continuing investigation and would like to hear from anyone with information about this matter, Marks said.
Henry has been co-operative with investigators.
LGF executive director Jacqueline Hewitt said she was shocked to hear of the allegations against Henry.
“When the RCMP brought this to our attention we removed coach Henry from his duties immediately,” said Hewitt.
Hewitt sent a letter home to all the parents and guardians of athletes at LGF, letting them know about the RCMP investigation into Henry.
The letter said that LGF is co-operating with the RCMP in every way it can. The letter also noted that the foundation’s priority is the safety of athletes and staff and there is “no reason to believe any further risk exists.”
“Our main focus is to support our members in every way we can,” said Hewitt on Tuesday.
She is encouraging members to talk to staff who will point them to the right resources to get help, either from the RCMP, victim services or counselling.
“We have a counsellor coming into our gym to help as well,” said Hewitt.
“We want everyone to know that it is safe to come here.”
Langley Gymnastics does criminal background checks on all their staff. Henry has no prior criminal record, said police.
Police said they don’t believe there are other alleged victims out there but they don’t want to discourage parents from having conversations with their children about this.
“If a parent gets a sense of concern from that conversation with their child, contact our investigators immediately,” said Marks. “As a parent, our emotions get involved and can contaminate the child’s words or recollection. We have trained officers who specialize in interviewing children in these types of situations.”
Further details about the alleged incident will not be released because the matter is now before the courts, said Marks. She noted that it’s crucial the identity of the victim and any potential witnesses is protected.
Langley RCMP’s client support and victim services is available to provide support and guidance to those impacted by the investigation.
If you have information or would like to speak to Langley RCMP call 604-532-3200.