Parents defend local gymnastics coach accused of physical and emotional abuse

- Everest Gymnastics, with locations in Huntersville and Cornelius, is making national headlines after several former gymnasts who used the facility spoke with the New York Times claiming physical and emotional abuse by owner and head coach Qi Han.

"We fully support Everest and I have no problem sending my kid here about 28 hours a week," said parent, Amy Schafer, who has been sending her daughters to the facility for about 12 years.

Parents FOX 46 Charlotte spoke with Monday deny the allegations in the New York Times which include Coach Han reportedly calling out young girls and placing them in fat groups for extra workouts, losing his temper daily, throwing a cell phone at one gymnast and reportedly kicking or hitting gymnasts.

"It was something that isn't even an issue because it was more of a misunderstanding," said parent Linda Robinson.

Robinson sent her daughter to Everest for 9 years and first heard about the allegations about 6 years ago. She says her daughter was there for some of the physical abuse allegations published by the New York Times.

"All of the parents signed a letter claiming this did not happen and this is a sour grapes issue," said Robinson.

Some of the parents and gymnasts in the article told the New York Times they waited years to tell their story out of fear of retaliation.

Coach Han sent a letter to parents this weekend saying he denys the claims in the New York Times and is prepared to defend himself against the allegations.

"We need coaches that are going to stand up for he safety of these children we need people who are going to be honest and ethical and that's who these 2 coaches are," said parent, Mike Robinson.

Coach Han also said in his statement that none of the allegations against him were ever reported to USA Gymnastics or anyone at his facility.

To read the full report by the New York Times, click here.

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