Former Zionsville gymnastics coach charged with child molesting, battery
ZIONSVILLE, Ind.– A former Zionsville gymnastics coach was arrested Thursday on child molestation charges.
Kenneth Arnold, 28, faces two counts of child molesting and one count of battery.
According to court documents, Zionsville police received a report of possible sexual battery at Zionsville’s InterActive Academy on Jan. 5. The report indicated a juvenile female student was touched four to five times under her leotard while practicing near Arnold.
When police spoke with him, he said it is possible for the students to fall or rotate in such a way that may cause him to touch someone. He told police this was common.
“I just apologize and move on,” he said, according to court documents.
The victim told police Arnold touched her “down there” once before Christmas break and then again on Dec. 29.
She said while spotting her on the press handstand, Arnold would go under her leotard and make skin-to-skin contact with his thumbs in her genital area. She identified the vaginal area of the body on an identification chart.
The first time, she believed it to be an accident. When it happened multiple other times, she knew something was wrong. She said she was too fearful at the time and didn’t say anything initially.
On Feb. 8, police learned that Arnold had been previously counseled regarding concerns over him touching students. A witness stated to the gym that Arnold was touching the girls more than what was necessary.
InterActive met with Arnold and he was later sent an email that said it was “neccessary to watch every movement when it comes to touching kids. Spotting skills only when necessary. No holding, hugging, touching athletes to tell them to tighten up. No tickling or carrying kids on back.”
Arnold replied, “confirmed.”
After the gym sent a notice to parents about the report to law enforcement, another parent stepped forward whose child said Arnold touched her inappropriately. Initially, the second victim was fearful and denied anything happened. A few days later, she told police what happened and described circumstances very similar to the first victim.
A third victim also said she had been touched inappropriately while exercising on the gymnastics bar and again on the vault.
Interactive Academy issued a statement at the time, saying the coach was no longer with the academy.
“Interactive Academy’s first priority is to ensure the health and well-being of the children and families we serve,” the statement said.
Arnold is now being held at the Boone County Jail without bond.
InterActive released the following statement about the arrest:
In January 2016, InterActive was contacted by law enforcement regarding a parent’s allegations that one of our coaches, (Kenneth) Andy Arnold, had improper contact with a student during practice.
Since that time Mr. Arnold has not been at our facility, and he is no longer employed by InterActive Academy. We promptly informed parents about the situation, as our first priority is to ensure the health and well-being of the children and families we serve.
InterActive cooperated fully with law enforcement during the investigation of these allegations. We have confidence in the criminal justice system and will continue our full cooperation with the involved authorities. We do not have any additional information to add at this time.
Director of Risk & Safety
USA Gymnastics provided the following statement:
USA Gymnastics was aware that law enforcement had been contacted regarding Kenneth A. Arnold and monitored the progress of the investigation. USA Gymnastics suspended Arnold’s membership once the Department of Child Services substantiated the allegations, per existing policy. Arnold’s membership will remain on suspension pending the conclusion of the legal proceedings.