Texas

Police are looking for new victims in a 40-year-old sexual abuse case involving a gymnastics coach in Texas

A Texas gymnastics coach has been accused of sexually abusing children nearly 40 years ago.

Law enforcement is searching for additional victims of the man, who worked in three other states and several other countries.

One of the allegations against Turncamp owner Mike Spiller dates back to the 1980s.

Currently, six women and girls have accused Spiller of lewdness and crimes ranging from fondling and groping to taping while sleeping.

“It goes way beyond that to the point where he drives young girls around in a van and masturbates in front of them,” said Nick Socias, the Kendall County special victims prosecutor.

Spiller – who was charged with a third-degree felony on Tuesday – has been the recipient of the prestigious Life Membership Award from the Gymnastics Association of Texas for the last several years.

“He was apparently a very respected member of the children’s gymnastics community,” Socias said.

The police in Boerne are looking for other victims. Before building his career in Texas, Spiller worked in New Mexico, California, Hawaii and abroad. At one point he was coaching the Swiss Jr. national team – according to his biography on a national association website.

“Many of the girls I coached made the 1985 World Cup team in Montreal,” Spiller wrote in his introductory biography.

Much of his career has been focused on youth, providing training in schools, working in boys’ and girls’ clubs and with day care programs.

Since the first victim came forward in October, five others have surfaced in Houston and Boerne — a residential community outside of San Antonio. Given the time span of the allegations, police do not have a full picture of the extent of possible victims.

“If you said what we have now I would say ‘okay’ or if you come back tenfold? I wouldn’t be surprised either,” Socias said.

The first woman, now an adult, told police she took part in Spiller’s ‘circus arts for children’ program at Boerne Gymnastics Center in 2001 when she was 12 years old.

While she was there, Spiller would “touch and grope her below the waist in her genital area,” according to the affidavit. Spiller recorded the sleeping girls with a camcorder set up in their room at a local hotel, sometimes exposing himself to the girls while he transported them to camp. After that, he would masturbate, the affidavit said.

Crates of media were removed from the facility where Spiller lived and worked. According to public records, they include spools of 8mm film, VHS cassettes, two binders of photo negatives, a photo album, undeveloped film, a case of recordable DVDs, a computer hard drive, and handwritten letters. According to the search warrant, police were attempting to determine if child pornography was present. That has yet to be determined.

This is not the first time that a former employee of the Boerne Turnzentrum attacks a child. In 2005, Paul Hengel — a 36-year-old former coach — admitted to sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl he once coached at the facility.

Boerne Gymnastics owner at the time, Lorna Spellman, defended Hengel and dismissed the claims, according to knowledgeable sources. The girl’s family went to law enforcement. Spellman told the media at the time that she had never received any complaints about the coach, who had worked there on and off for years and left in 2001.

Spellman owns and operates the facility and lives on campus. Spiller also lived there. She was not immediately available for comment.

“It has been my pleasure to be a part of the Texas gymnastics family for the past 57 years,” Spiller wrote in his 2017 introductory biography. “If I had to do it all over again — yes, I would change a few things, but for the most part I would do it all over again.”

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