Gymnastics coach sex abuse outcries date back to 1993

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida - Last month, Team USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar and the nation listened as more than 150 gymnasts recounted the horrors of the sexual abuse they suffered as adolescents while under his care.

Florida Assistant State Attorney and Sex Crimes Unit Supervisor, Stacey Honowitz was not shocked by the news, having previously prosecuted a gymnastics coach on child molestation charges.

Honowitz referred to Coach Ray Adams as a gym hopper because he crossed many state lines and coached many young girls before being convicted in 2013.

Outcries date back to Missouri in 1993, when Adams was coaching, then 12 year old Jenny Brannan.

Brannan told News 4, Adams took her into the gym office, asked her to sit on his lap, and then slid his hand between her legs.

Brannan's parents didn't want to press charges, but they insisted Adams be fired.

"I think people are just scared," Honowitz said. "I think people don't want to touch this."

16 years after coaching in Missouri, Illinois and Ohio, Adams made his way to a gym in Deerfield Beach, Florida where he crossed a line with a 10 year old gymnast, who we'll refer to only as Maggie to protect her identity.

"She said that when she got down to stretch he rubbed her private parts," Honowitz said.

She explained that when Maggie got on the uneven bars, she was molested again.

"He came up behind her, blew on her neck and he fondled her breasts," Honowitz said.

Her parents found out and immediately pressed charges.

"All she said was, he messed with the wrong mom and I said, no sweet girl, he messed with the wrong little girl," Maggie's mom said.

A national background check was done by Honowitz revealing Adams had plead guilty to a lesser charge of battery on a child years before.

"People knew and people did nothing," Honowitz said.

Adams is serving a 15 year sentence for 2 counts of Lewd and Lascivious molestation and he is serving a concurrent sentence for attempted receipt of child pornography.

"That's the worst part about the cases is the betrayal of trust," Honowitz said. "It's someone that's supposed to be championing your kid."

Honowitz learned that in some cases, parents didn't want to put their kids on the stand.

She also learned there were many other cases of sexual molestation allegations against Adams over the years.

In almost every incident the gyms fired Adams upon hearing the allegations, but some of them stopped short of reporting it to police and USA Gymnastics.

"I think my case kind of opened the door and opened people's eyes," Honowitz said.

In an interview with Brannan Wednesday, she told News 4 she thought this type of child sex abuse was an epidemic.

She also shared that even she thought about what Adams did to her every single day until he was finally put behind bars nearly twenty years later.

Stacey Honowitz book: "My Privates are Private"

Twitter | Facebook | Email

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off