Gymnastics coach charged with lewd battery

A Lakeland gymnastics coach was arrested Wednesday after deputies say he was caught hiding in the bedroom of a 13-year-old girl.
 
Justin Thomas Henry, 21, an instructor at Elite World Gymnastics, was arrested on a charge of lewd and lascivious battery. He was released from Hillsborough County Jail about 9 p.m. after posting a $7,500 bond.
 
Henry was discovered about 2 a.m. Wednesday in the bedroom closet of the girl's Brandon home, according to Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. The girl told her mother that she’d had consensual sex with Henry, deputies said. It's unclear if the girl is one of his students.
 
Classes went on as usual Wednesday at Elite World Gymnastics, but employees say Henry is not returning there. According to employees, he had worked there for about a year and had passed a background check.
 
This isn’t Henry’s first run-in with the law this year.
 
In April he was accused of taking three 14-year-olds from their Polk County subdivision and driving them to Clearwater Beach in the middle of the night without their parents’ permission, according to a Polk County Sheriff’s Office report. A deputy's report says Henry allowed them to drink alcohol in his vehicle.
 
At least one of the minors was a student of his. The report says he rubbed one of the minor’s thighs and asked when he could call her his girlfriend.
 
In that case, he was charged with three counts of interfering with child custody.
 
The report says Henry knew one of the minors from another gym, Gymnastics Etc. The owner of that gym told ABC Action News that Henry hasn't worked there in two years and left because the business gave him too few hours.
 
A manager at Elite World Gymnastics said the business knew nothing of the April incident.
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