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updated: 7/8/2011 4:56 PM

Former gymnastics coach gets probation for child porn

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  • Vernor P. Gumila

      Vernor P. Gumila

 
 

A former gymnastics coach was sentenced to 30 months probation Friday and ordered to undergo specialized sex offender treatment after being convicted last fall of possession of child pornography.

Vernor Gumila, 42, of the 1400 block of Terry Road, Glendale Heights, also must register as a sex offender and pay a $1,000 fine under the sentence from Kane County Judge Timothy Sheldon.

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Gumila, a former St. Charles resident whose only previous offense was a traffic ticket, could have received up to five years in prison for the felony offenses.

Assistant State's Attorney Reagan McGuire argued for prison time, pointing to testimony from several months ago from a now 30-year-old woman who said that when she was 13 she had a romantic relationship with Gumila, who was in his early 20s at the time. No charges were ever filed in that case.

McGuire stressed that Gumila was convicted of nine child pornography charges and even though he was never accused of abusing students at the Streamwood-based Gymkhana Gymnastics Club and Dance Studio in Hanover Park, he was a risk to society.

"We not talking about one image. This was not an accident," said McGuire, arguing that Gumila isn't someone who browses child porn at his home. "He is a contact sex offender."

But defense attorney Michelle Moore argued for probation, noting that Gumila has never missed a court date, can't coach anymore and there is a big difference between a person who possesses child porn and someone who sexually abuses children.

As a registered sex offender Gumila will be restricted from gymnastics meets and visiting his nieces and nephews. "His life as he knew it is over and done," Moore said.

During a bench trial last fall, Gumila unsuccessfully argued that the child pornography belonged to his roommate at the time, Shawn Bowlden, who was another coach at the club.

The pair were arrested in fall 2007. Bowlden, 37, pleaded guilty to child pornography possession in spring 2008, was sentenced to probation and testified against Gumila at trial.

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