Police & Fire

Former Westfield Gymnastics Instructor Charged with Sexual Assault of Child

5835a9201bc4580ca424_RODRIGUEZ_JORGE.JPG
Jorge Rodriguez, 34, formerly of Elizabeth and currently of Boston, has been charged with second-degree sexual assault and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child. Credits: Union County Prosecutor's Office
5835a9201bc4580ca424_RODRIGUEZ_JORGE.JPG

This story was updated at 4:10 p.m. with new information.

ELIZABETH, NJ — A former instructor is accused of sexually assaulting a 7-year-old student at Surgent’s Elite School of Gymnastics in Westfield over the course of more than six months, acting Union County Prosecutor Thomas K. Isenhour announced Wednesday.

Jorge Rodriguez, 34, formerly of Elizabeth and currently of Boston, has been charged with second-degree sexual assault and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child.

Sign Up for E-News

Rodriguez is known to have also worked at the Garwood and Roselle Park Elite School of Gymnastics locations during recent years, the prosecutor’s office said.

A Special Victims Unit investigation spearheaded by Detective Colin McNamara revealed that the alleged abuse took place from September 2015 into March 2016 at the Surgent’s Elite School of Gymnastics location in Westfield, while the victim was a student, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Sheets, who is prosecuting the case.

Rodriguez is currently being held at a corrections center in Boston after he was indicted by the grand jury of Suffolk County for rape of a child and indecent assault and battery of a child, according to the office of the district attorney of Suffolk County. He is scheduled for trial in May 2018.

His first appearance in Union County Superior Court has yet to be scheduled.

Anyone with information about his activities is being urged to contact Special Victims Unit Detective Ryan Kirsh at 908-965-3814.

Convictions on second-degree criminal charges are commonly punishable by 5 to 10 years in state prison.

Surgent’s Elite School of Gymnastics released this statement Wednesday afternoon:

It would be improper to comment on the circumstances surrounding an on-going criminal investigation; however, we have been voluntarily cooperating with the authorities with any information that could help with the investigation. We have been doing do so since it was first brought to our attention. We make child safety our #1 priority. Our instructors are safety-certified and back ground checked. Our staff has taken numerous educational courses through USA Gymnastics. Our staff meetings focus primarily on child safety. We have security cameras in all our facilities with tv monitors for parents to be able to view their child. Our thoughts and prayers are with any child and family who are potentially a victim of sexual assault. Surgent’s Elite is a family run gymnastics school. Our managers and teachers all have children themselves that make Surgent’s Elite their home. We consider our students extensions of our family and we prioritize protecting them.

Sincerely,

Surgent’s Elite School of Gymnastics Family

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Cranford

Athlete of the Week: Ryan Malko & Hanna Capone

February 6, 2018

CRANFORD, NJ – Following leading performances in track and field and ice hockey, Hanna Capone and Ryan Malko are Cranford High School’s Athletes of the Week.

Capone, a junior on the winter track team, recently earned the North II, Group III sectional title in the pole vault with a height of 9 ft. 3 inches, her personal best.

“I’m motivated by my personal ...

Filthy, dangerous conditions, theft and assault alleged at recently-opened Newark shelter

February 13, 2018

Newark, NJ—Antoinette Jackson, Sonya Webb and Andrea Eaddy sit in a McDonald’s on a cold winter morning, not far from the homeless shelter they currently call home.

During the day, they count on places like McDonald's to stay warm. They must leave the shelter at 7 a.m. and can only return after 4 p.m., even when temperatures drop below freezing.

When the ...

Cranford Endorses Colleen Mahr

February 19, 2018

Mayor Colleen Mahr has been a valuable friend to the Township of Cranford. Whether it’s offering advice and assistance during devastating flood cleanup, supporting the Mayor's Council on the Rahway River, or her insight and assistance in meeting our affordable housing obligations--Mayor Mahr is always there for Cranford.

Colleen’s fairness and integrity is beyond reproach.

Wardlaw+Hartridge Senior Signs National Letter of Intent

February 18, 2018

EDISON, NJ -- Mia Reyes of Piscataway, a senior at The Wardlaw+Hartridge School in Edison, has made it official: she will continue her soccer career at Haverford College next year.

The Wardlaw+Hartridge soccer star signed her official national letter of intent at a press conference with family, friends and coaches in attendance on Feb. 14. Mia, who will graduate with 30 goals and a W+H record ...

Cranford Police Blotter: Shoplifting Arrest & More

February 13, 2018

The information provided does not represent the total scope of police activity. Individuals charged as a result of police investigations are merely an accusation. All defendants should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

1. 02/07/2018 12:38 p.m.

6 South Avenue West

Arrested: Earl Ayler, 61, Rahway

Arrested by: Sgt. Frank Williams

Charges: Shoplifting, Hindering Apprehension, ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, February 21, 7:00 PM

The Cranford Hotel (hosted by Calvary Lutheran Church), Cranford

Beer & Bible

Religions And Spirituality

Thu, February 22, 1:15 PM

Calvary Lutheran Church, Cranford

Calvary Lutheran Church Invites You to Mid-Week ...

Religions And Spirituality

Thu, February 22, 6:00 PM

UCEDC, Cranford

Next Level Business Planning

Business & Finance

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...

Democratic Party Would Be Making a Big Mistake by Not Recognizing Colleen Mahr's Talents

February 19, 2018

Dear Editor:

Mayor Colleen Mahr has been a valuable friend to the Township of Cranford. Whether it’s offering advice and assistance during devastating flood cleanup, supporting the Mayor's Council on the Rahway River, or her insight and assistance in meeting our affordable housing obligations, Mayor Mahr is always there for Cranford.

Colleen’s fairness and integrity is ...