Southern Indiana gymnastics coach arrested for child molestation

Christopher Wilkerson (Clark County Jail via News and Tribune)

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WTHR) - A youth gymnastics coach in southern Indiana is facing felony child molestation charges, though police do not believe any of the victims were students at the gym.

Christopher S. Wilkerson of Jeffersonville entered a not guilty plea in court Monday on four charges of child molestation. Investigators say Wilkerson's two victims were both under the age of 14 when the alleged crimes took place between November 2017 and November 2019.

According to court records reviewed by our partners at the News and Tribune, a case manager for the Department of Child Services notified police Jan. 20 of the alleged molestation, which reportedly happened on separate occasions, including while the kids were sleeping.

Wilkerson reportedly told a family member he was considering turning himself in because he had "thoughts of putting himself in compromising positions" with the victims, but had not acted on the thoughts yet. Later, he admitted that he had struggled with his sexuality and was experimenting with it through the young victims.

He had been employed at SIGS Sportsplex in New Albany as a gymnastics coach from December 2012 to August 2016 and again from April 2018 until he resigned on Jan. 21, the newspaper reported. He coached children ages 3 to 17 at the gym.

While none of the students at the gym were listed in the molestation investigation, the gym's owners notified parents of the allegations as soon as charges were filed. Monday, a letter was sent to parents describing what the facility does to ensure the safety of children, including an open-air concept, background checks and training.

“Chris Wilkerson was an employee at SIGS and resigned earlier this year,” the owners said in a media statement given to the News and Tribune Monday. “No reports include that the alleged incidents involved SIGS’ athletes, staff, or customers. We have no reason to believe anything occurred at SIGS. Like all employees, he was background checked and references were consulted. Our staff receives ongoing, frequent training and we adhere to strict protocols around athlete safety. Our family’s health and safety is our number one priority and has been for more than 40 years.”

The Clark County prosecutor said he did not expect any additional charges in the case, but said anyone with more information can contact the Jeffersonville Police Department detective division at 812-285-6535.

Wilkerson's trial is currently set for May 19.