October 21, 2011

State can't stop sex offender coaching

10-21-2011 Michigan:

Many parents trust Paul Hagan to coach children

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - Michigan State Trooper Rich Bell said that the situation that allows convicted sex offender Paul Hagan to coach gymnastics at Aerials and Baranis in Plainfield Township, is worrisome. He said that Michigan sex offender registry laws need to change.

"It's concerning at best," said Bell, who works with the Michigan Sex Offender Registry. "There's not an easy fix, there's not an easy answer. Law enforcement can't just go and address it. We're bound by the law."

Hagan was convicted in 1994 of touching a 13-year-old gymnast's breast. He served time in prison for the offense and has finished his parole.

But he's still required to register as a sex offender.

USA Gymnastics, a governing body for gymnastics in the United States, banned Hagan from coaching in member gyms for life.

But since Aerials and Baranis isn't a member of USA Gymnastics, Hagan can still coach there.

Now, USA Gymnastics is looking into its policies.

After Target 8 reported that Hagan was coaching and that some people had concerns, several other parents supporting Hagan are speaking out.

They sent this statement:

On behalf of the parents, coaches, and athletes of Aerials and Baranis Gymnastics Center, we release the following statement in support of Paul Hagan. He has been a volunteer coach here for the last 13 years, with no accusations or complaints filed against him following the first offense. Many parents have been aware of the violation in 1994, 17 years ago. Most have chosen to stay, and believe in Paul Hagan. He continues to be an inspiration for parents, coaches, and athletes. Aerials and Baranis has taken the necessary precautions, including a large viewing area and security cameras throughout the facility, to ensure that it is a safe environment for kids of all ages. The gymnastics center represents a large number of dedicated coaches and athletes. We, as a gymnastics family, will continue to support Paul and Aerials and Baranis.

Aerials and Baranis Booster, parents, coaches, and athletes

Hagan and his wife have said that all gymnasts coached by Hagan are safe. ..Source.. by Marlee Ginter

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