The owner of an Aurora gymnastics studio was found not guilty Wednesday of forging her son's coaching schedules prior to his 2005 trial on charges he sexually abused 14 female gymnasts.
Also acquitted of felony forgery was Linda Lynch's co-defendant and former office manager, Andrea Arndt, who was accused of altering records to distance Lynch's son from one of his accusers.
DuPage County Judge Robert Kleeman issued the verdicts, saying he wasn't convinced the defendants intended to deceive by recreating gym schedules requested by a defense attorney.
"I don't buy the argument," he said.
Prosecutors had alleged Lynch directed Arndt to doctor records to provide an alibi after Lynch's son, Michael Cardamone, was accused of molesting more than a dozen young gymnasts during training exercises at the gym.
But defense attorneys Randy Rueckert and Ernest DiBenedetto argued the women were trying to compile accurate information for Cardamone's attorney to prepare for trial.
"They put together the most accurate information they could to help the defense," Rueckert said.
Kleeman said the differences between the re-created schedules and originals seized by authorities were slight and didn't give Cardamone a full alibi.
Outside of court, Lynch said she was pleased with the verdict after more than a decade of her family fighting allegations related to her son's case.
"I just want to move forward and these people to stop," the 63-year-old Oswego woman said. "They know what they did, and they have to live with it."
Arndt, 38, of Montgomery, declined to comment, but her attorney said she wants to put the case behind her.
"This has been just a long odyssey," DiBenedetto said. "I hope she can get back to her life without this hanging over her head."
Cardamone was found guilty at the 2005 trial but an appellate court later reversed the conviction because of significant trial errors.
In November, the former coach admitted to reduced charges of battering or restraining the 14 gymnasts in a plea deal that specified the acts weren't sexually motivated but involved improper touching.
At the hearing, Cardamone insisted he "never sexually abused anyone."Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.