Police & Fire

Former Westfield Gymnastics Instructor Charged with Sexual Assault of Child

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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
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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. 

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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 there in May 2018. His first appearance in Union County Superior Court has yet to be scheduled.

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

Anyone with information about Rodriguez's 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.

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