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LAUDERDALE LAKES (CBSMiami) – Broward Sheriff’s Office detectives said a Palm Beach County gymnastics coach for children was arrested on Friday for possessing child porn.

Detectives with the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children/Human Trafficking Task Force served a search warrant at the Lauderdale Lakes home of a 66-year-old Carl Lechner.

According to the probable cause affidavit, “The defendant (Lechner) admitted that he was curious about child pornography and when that curiosity overwhelmed him, he would search for it and view it. He said he would often feel bad for having viewed the files and would move it to the trash on his computer and then uninstall the (software) program.”

Investigators said they “recovered seven videos depicting the sexual exploitation of children. Those videos depict children under the age of twelve engaging in various sex acts.”

BSO detectives said Lechner owned and operated TAG Gymnastic gyms in Weston from 1998 to 2010 and in Davie from 1989 to 2000. However, the current owner of TAG USA Gymnastics in Weston says Lechner never had any connection to the Weston facility.

BSO says Lechner was currently working as a coach at Cats Gymnastics, which is a children’s gymnastics and fitness center in Jupiter, Fla.

The affidavit also stated, “He stated that his interest in child pornography started when he used those programs to search for child pornography that depicted a child he was familiar with.”

Terry Howison owns Cats Gymnastics in Jupiter where Lechner works as a coach.

“We’re totally shocked,” Howison told CBS4’s Carey Codd. “It’s totally out of character of what we’ve ever seen from him.”

Parents at the gym had little to say about Lechner’s arrest.

“It’s been fine,” said one woman. “There’s been nothing inside the gym.”

Howison said he had no idea about Lechner’s past arrest for drug trafficking. He reassured parents that he does not believe anything improper occurred between Lechner and the gymnastics students.

“Our whole gym is wide open,” Howison said. “It’s all windows. The parents can see every single thing that’s going on. He was never alone with anybody.”

Lechner was arrested on seven counts of possession of child pornography, one count of compiling computer pornography, three counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and one count of possession of ammunition by a convicted felon.

Anyone with any related information about Lechner should call Broward Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS (8477) or online at http://www.browardcrimestoppers.org.

Carey Codd

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