A gymnastics coach from Schaumburg has been formally indicted in Georgia on charges alleging she sexually abused two developmentally disabled athletes while attending a competition north of Atlanta in the spring of 2015.
Patricia Hermann, 49, was initially arrested on a warrant for four felony charges in October 2015, but was released on bond in November.
Herrman’s Georgia-based attorney, Preston Haliburton, said the past year has been very damaging for his client but that she is looking forward to the opportunity to prove her innocence.
“It’s an accusation that may or may not go forward, once reasonable and objective minds review it,” Haliburton said. “I’m very confident the Cobb County judicial system is that reasonable and objective mind.”
The six charges filed by the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office in the recent indictment include aggravated sexual battery, three counts of sexual battery against a child under 16 and two counts of cruelty to children in the first degree.
Authorities said the crimes are believed to have occurred between April 30 and May 3, 2015, when Hermann and members of the Elite Stars gymnastics team were staying at a hotel in Kennesaw, Georgia, while taking part in a competition.
The warrant issued a year ago stated that during interviews at the DuPage County Child Advocacy Center afterward, the two girls — ages 13 and 10 — described Hermann making physical contact with intimate parts of their bodies. Each claim was corroborated by another minor staying in the same room, according to the warrant.
The next step will be the arraignment — a formal reading of the charges — which will likely occur next month but hasn’t yet been scheduled, said Kim Isaza, spokeswoman for the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office.
According to her biography on the Elite Stars website, Hermann has 25 years of special needs program design and gymnastics experience, and has coached five Special Olympics world champions and 15 national champions. The biography states that founded Elite Stars in 2003.
Besides gymnastics, Elite Stars runs competitive dance, cheerleading and figure skating programs out of facilities in Hanover Park, Hoffman Estates, Mount Prospect and Roselle, according to its website.