Crime

Gymnastics instructor arrested on child pornography charges, deputies say

Broward Sheriff's Office

A gymnastics instructor at a Boca Raton studio was arrested Thursday after the Broward Sheriff’s Office says investigators found pictures and videos of young boys engaging in sexual acts on his home computer.

Hassan Jawad, who most recently worked at Twisters of Boca Raton, is facing multiple charges, including eight counts of child pornography and one count of compiling child pornography.

On Thursday, the gymnastics center sent an urgent message to parents:

“We regret to inform you that we received word late this morning that one of the class instructors, Hassan Jawad, who was working at Boca Twisters, was arrested for possession of child pornography on his personal computer at his home in Broward County. We are devastated, shocked, and angry,” the message said. “During his employment at Twisters we did not receive a complaint about his coaching or behavior, or have any reason to suspect that he ever had any inappropriate contact with a minor.”

Earlier this month, the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children task force began an investigation into Jawad after being alerted to a computer IP address that was being used to advertise and share child pornography beginning in January, according to Jawad’s arrest report.

The IP address was linked to Jawad’s Deerfield Beach home, investigators said.

On Thursday, armed with a search warrant, investigators showed up at the home in the 1770 block of Northwest Second Avenue.

“The Defendant was interviewed and admitted to using [redacted] software to search for and download child pornography filed within the last few weeks,” a detective wrote in the report. “He stated that he used terms such as ‘pedo’ (because he knew it was short for pedophile) and also used ages like ‘12’ and ‘13’ to search for child pornography.”

He also told investigators that some of his searches yielded images of boys as young as 8 years old, according to the report.

“He states that he intentionally used this [redacted] program to view child pornography out of curiosity and that although he felt aroused by the content he felt it was wrong and deleted it,” the detective wrote.

Jawad, according to the report, admitted to having at least seven videos and images showing young boys engaging in appropriate behavior.

Most of the images, according to detectives, “depict mostly male children between the ages of 7 and 13 years of age engaging in sexual acts including oral sex, anal sex and masturbation with adult men and/or other male children.”

Prior to working at Twisters, BSO says Jawad was employed from 2015 to 2017 at New England Academy of Gymnastics in Marlborough, Massachusetts.

Anyone with information about Jawad is asked to call Det. Jennifer Montgomery at 954-888-5239 or Broward Crime Stoppers 954-493-TIPS (8477).

Carli Teproff grew up in Northeast Miami-Dade and graduated from Florida International University in 2003. She became a full-time reporter for the Miami Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news.

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