NewsLocal News


Parents asking children tough questions after former gymnastics coach arrested

Posted at 11:29 PM, Jan 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-15 23:36:25-05

GOOCHLAND COUNTY, Va. -- Parents are asking their children tough questions after a former gymnastics coach was arrested for sexually assaulting a teenage girl.

Benjamin Jones was a tumbling coach recently indicted on a felony aggravated sexual battery charge by the Colonial Heights Grand Jury.

The 38-year-old has connections with cheerleading businesses in Dinwiddie, Hanover, and most recently at the Goochland County gymnasium.

Jones was employed at Galaxy All-Stars in Goochland County, a competitive all-star cheerleading program for the ages of 3 to 18 years old.

Gym owner Ashley Vertino sent a letter home to parents explaining Jones’ involvement with Galaxy All-Stars.

"The letter just specifically stated that Jones was no longer with us and that we are moving forward in a positive direction," said Vertino.

Jones taught Sheryl Masie's two teenage daughters during their cheer and tumbling classes at the gym since October. Masie said she had to have difficult conversations with her children after the news of the arrest.

"[I asked] what did they understand about the allegation and I asked if there was anything they needed to divulge to me that had happened - that maybe they hadn’t brought to my attention in the past," Masie explained.

Masie said she felt comfortable having Jones teach her children.

"He was very involved, very enthusiastic, very engaged, and excited to have him here. My children were excited because they were learning from him," she stated. "There's no doubt in my mind my children were not impacted by this."

Vertino says she learned of allegations against Jones when she was contacted by Colonial Heights Police.

"I have co-operated fully with police," said Vertino. “We have reviewed all of our tapes that has gone through and proven that there is nothing that happened in our gym."

"Our surveillance cameras are for the protection of not only our staff, our athletes, our Parents. We have them all sourced around," she added.

Sources tell CBS 6 the aggravated sexual battery incident happened at a home in Colonial Heights.

Court documents indicated that the female victim is between 13 and 15 years old.

Jones was granted a 15,000 bond inside a Colonial Heights courtroom Tuesday afternoon.

The decision to grant bond came with several other conditions. Those include: wearing a GPS monitored ankle bracelet and having a 9 p.m. curfew. Jones is also not permitted to have contact with minors or go to cheer or gymnastic gyms where he previously worked.

Jones will stay at his family's residence in Glen Allen. The next hearing is set for February 26, at 9 a.m.