Luling mother questioned gym coach now accused of molesting boys

A mother called it “parent intuition” when she stopped her daughter’s gymnastics lessons with Jonathan West.

After her 9-year-old daughter took just two lessons with West at Flipnastics in Luling, Charlene Vieau said she considered him unprofessional and “gave off a vibe that I didn’t care for.”

Less than a year later, West has been charged with 10 counts of sexual battery and four counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile in Jefferson Parish. Today (June 7), the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office announced it is seeking West’s extradition after they discovered two victims in the parish. West will be charged with three counts of sexual battery, one count of oral sexual battery and two counts of indecent behavior with juveniles in St. Charles Parish. Investigators say the most recent alleged criminal acts occurred at Flipnastics, between April and May of 2018.

There are currently eight alleged victims in St. Charles and Jefferson parishes, but St. Charles Parish authorities say they have identified more potential victims and that additional charges may be brought against West later in the investigation.

West, a resident of Kenner, worked at Flipnastics, a gym at 737 Paul Maillard Road in Luling, and is accused of molesting boys that he brought to the gym.

Vieau, of Luling, said her daughter was never alone with West in their 30-minute private sessions, which she discontinued. When West realized she was not scheduling more lessons, she said he contacted her but she didn’t return his calls.

“It was parent intuition where you just don’t care for somebody,” she said. “I just didn’t care for him. There was something about him I didn’t like.”

Flipnastics owner Rhea Dufrene could not be reached for comment as of press time.

Lt. Brian McGregor, of the Kenner Police Department, said a complaint was filed against West in 2012 involving a 3-year-old that did not result in charges.

West is currently incarcerated in Jefferson Parish and will be extradited to St. Charles Parish upon his release.

At West’s bond hearing Tuesday in Jefferson Parish, prosectors there said West allegedly picked up his students at home and drove them to Flipnastics. The victims all maintained he touched them inappropriately on the thigh or put his hands down their pants.

Authorities say the alleged abuse involved males from age 10 to 15 reportedly in incidents over a two-year period.

Last Thursday, West was located at Surge Trampoline Park in Metairie and taken into custody.

 

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