ITEAM: Texas gymnastics coach arrested on sex crimes has ties to Louisiana
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The WAFB I-TEAM has learned a Texas gymnastics coach arrested on sexual misconduct charges last week has a connection to a facility in the Baton Rouge area.
Michael Spiller, 75, was locked up last week and is now facing legal trouble after being accused of inappropriately touching his students. So far, five people— including children— have come forward with allegations against Spiller and attorney Meredith Stratigopoulos says there may be more victims out there.
“Given that there are allegations coming out of Kendall County from the early 2000′s up until 2022 when my client is bringing hers, it’s my understanding that there are going to be more claims and allegations coming forward over the next few months,” Stratigopoulos said.
The attorney represents a 9-year-old girl and recently filed a lawsuit which alleges Spiller put his hand under her leotard during practice back in April.
“What’s really fascinating is that kids are really intuitive. Kids know when something is right and know when something is wrong especially when it comes to their own body. But oftentimes what they don’t see and don’t understand is that when they come forward and say that something is wrong, that’s when there’s a possibility for change to happen,” Stratigopoulos said.
Spiller’s lengthy career goes back to the 1970′s and he’s worked with kids on mats in Texas, California, and even overseas. According to posts on Facebook, Spiller hosted training at Leaps and Bounds in Denham Springs back in 2017 and 2019. WAFB reached out to the owner of the sports center. The owner released the following statement.
WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked the attorney if it’s possible that there may be other gyms that Spiller worked with or other places that he may have had contact with kids in Louisiana.
“Sure. I think it’s possible that based on what is available on his website, he was working throughout the country with different gymnastics centers and hosting his own camps with different organizations. He lists on his website the Boys and Girls Club and YMCA, said Stratigopoulos. “He was teaching all over the country and I would expect anywhere that he was that he had access to a minor and there should be a question about what happened in that interaction.”
The attorney says she hopes Spiller will have to answer for what he’s accused of and that something like this will never happen again.
“There’s a trust that built between coaches and people that have access to kids through gymnastics centers and parents expect their kids to be safe when they are sent there and to know that there was a monster taking advantage of it, it’s something that’s really heartbreaking,” Stratigopoulos added.
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