Broward County

Jailed ex-Broward gymnastics coach faces sexual battery charge

A gymnastics coach who was arrested last month on charges of child pornography and gun possession now faces a charge of battery on a child, stemming from a 2004 case, according to the Broward Sheriff's Office.

Carl Joseph Lechner, 66, of Lauderdale Lakes has been in jail since his July 31 arrest.

On Tuesday BSO announced the new charge after detectives with the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children/Human Trafficking Task Force learned about an 11-year-old complaint involving sexual battery on a child. After Lechner’s arrest, detectives found the complaint from 2004 and realized there had never been any charges filed.

A BSO detective then interviewed the victim, who is now 21, in August. The victim told the detective that for about four years, from 1999 to 2003, Lechner would play a game with her where she would hide her face and close her eyes and he would sexually assault her. When the game started, she was 3, and it lasted until she was 7.

Lechner owned and operated TAG Gymnastics gyms in Weston from 1998 to 2010 and in Davie from 1989 to 2000. He most recently worked as a coach at Cats Gymnastics — Children’s Gymnastics and Fitness Center in Jupiter. Lechner also ran a youth summer camp for children ages 2 to 16 at the Lauderdale Isles Yacht & Tennis Club between 2006 and 2010.

Anyone with information about Lechner should call BSO Det. Jennifer Montgomery at 954-888-5239 or Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS (8477).