Sycamore gymnastics coach sentenced to 32 years for sexual assault

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DeKALB, Ill. (AP) — A 25-year-old youth gymnastics coach in northern Illinois has been sentenced to 32 years after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting students.

Joseph R. Hannon of Sycamore admitted to sexually assaulting six children between April and September 2016. Each was younger than 13 years. They were students at Energym, a Sycamore gymnastics school.

“This defendant violated the trust of so many people — children and parents,” DeKalb County State’s Attorney Rick Amato said in a Thursday statement. “They counted on him to do the right things, yet when he thought no one was looking he did the unthinkable and violated that trust. He deserves every minute he serves in prison.”

Energym hired Hannon in 2015, when he was on felony probation for a 2013 felony drug case. The gym’s owner has said Hannon was hired without a background check.

Hannon’s attorney, Brian Erwin, said Sunday that Hannon was a dedicated gymnastics coach.

“He unfortunately made some regrettable choices. Based upon Mr. Hannon’s age and his family dynamics, he was facing life in prison and so rather than taking the cases to trial, he chose to resolve this matter to allow him to be able to return to his family,” Erwin said in an emailed statement. “He now is going to put this behind him, serve his time and come back to society a better man, son and brother.”

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