Joseph Lewin of Port Chester, also known as Joseph Lewandoski, is accused of sexually abusing children under 13 from 2001-2014.
Seth Harrison, firstname.lastname@example.org
RAMAPO, N.Y. – A 67-year-old gymnastics coach who trained children in gyms he owned in Hillburn and Suffern, N.Y., has been accused of sexually abusing at least five youngsters under 13 from 2001-2014, Ramapo police said Thursday.
Joseph Lewin of Port Chester, N.Y., also known as Joseph Lewandoski, is charged with five counts of second-degree course of sexual conduct against a child and first-degree sexual abuse, both felonies, police said during a Thursday morning news conference.
“We’re concerned there could be more victims,” detective Lt. Michael Colbath said, standing with police chief Brad Weidel and the lead investigators, detectives Robert Fitzgerald and Jonathan Quinn.
Colbath said Lewin worked at a number of gymnastics places in Rockland County and possibly outside of New York. Suffern borders Hillburn and Mahwah, New Jersey.
The crimes Lewin is accused of committing took place at The Gym (also known as Joe’s Gym) in Hillburn; and The Gym in Suffern. Those gyms are no longer in business.
Police declined to reveal any details that could potentially identify the people who claim to have been abused by Lewin. Colbath declined to release the gender of the survivors, where they are from or say whether there was physical evidence, such as emails or recordings.
“This is a very sensitive issue,” Colbath said. “Hopefully, this will bring some closure for the victims.”
The charges follow revelations by gymnasts discussing their sexual abuse by Larry Nassar, the physician for the Olympic and Michigan State University teams.
One person came to Ramapo police about a month and half ago to talk about Lewin, Colbath said. From there, detectives were able to interview other survivors.
“There’s a possibility there may be adult victims 16 and older, as well,” he said. “We know it’s a very sensitive topic” for people to come forward and discuss.
While police declined to name other gymnastic facilities where Lewin trained children, Lewin apparently worked at the Mania Training Facility in Stony Point, according to a Facebook post by the business. The business suspended Lewin’s access to its gymnastic facility after his arrest became public.
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“This afternoon we were made aware of some allegations of misconduct against Joe Lewin, a tumbling instructor who utilized Mania Training Facility. Mania does not have any knowledge of the credibility of the allegations nor do we have any knowledge of the allegations by current or former Mania athletes or employees.”
The business barred Lewin, saying, “Out of an abundance of caution we have suspended his access from Mania Training Facility as we place the safety and well-being of our athletes first.”
Lewin has been released on $10,000 bail after arraignment in Hillburn Village Court. Ramapo police were assisted by the county District Attorney’s Office and Stony Point and Suffern police.
The charge of course of sexual conduct states that, over a period of at least three months, an adult older than 18 engages in two or more acts of sexual conduct with a child under 11.
First-degree sexual assault involves having sex with a child or a victim who is mentally incapacitated, mentally disabled or physically helpless.