A longtime gymnastics coach who was first accused of sexual abuse almost thirty years ago was arrested on Monday, October 15, on allegations that he sexually abused one of his teenage students. 68-year-old Jose Vilchis has been charged with 14 counts of criminal sexual assault and four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse for alleged incidents that happened between late 2012 and late 2013 at I&M Gymnastics in Channahon.
Police in Channahon began investigating the coach in 2014 after two teenage girls reported that they were sexually abused by him over multiple months at I&M Gymnastics. Those teens told police that they were aware of other gymnasts who had claimed to have been abused by Vilchis.
In March of this year, the police department began investigating Vilchis again after Chicago Tonight contacted them for a story discussing the first allegations made against Vilchis in Wheeling in 1990 and a subsequent story regarding the 2014 allegations. The reporting for this story was based on police investigation records from Wheeling and Channahon and interviews with three women who claimed to have been sexually abused by Vilchis while they were teenagers.
Following the reopening of this investigation, at least one other woman has come forward with allegations of sexual abuse against Vilchis, which she said occurred while she was a teenage gymnast training at I&M.
Attorney contributor Brian Kent helps the survivors of sexual abuse find justice in civil court. We have asked him for some thoughts on the options available in a lawsuit against gymnastics coach:
Tragically, positions that involve working or volunteering with children sometimes attract sexual predators who seek to exploit their positions of trust in order to abuse innocent victims. These sexual predators must be held accountable for the suffering they’ve caused and we must make sure that the survivors and their families have all of the support they need. Additionally, it’s important to determine if a third party (such as the coach’s employer or organization) is held accountable if they failed to prevent abuse through negligence.
In some cases, youth sports organizations can be held liable for sexual abuse if their negligence played a role in failing to stop the abuse. Examples of such negligence may include failing to run a background check on a new employee or volunteer or allowing a coach to continue working after being accused of sexual misconduct.
If you or someone you love has been sexually abused by a youth athletics coach, we advise learning more about your legal options in a free consultation with one of our experienced sexual abuse survivors lawyers.