Former gymnastics coach sentenced for sexually abusing studentsPosted: Updated:
A former gymnastics coach was sentenced to four years in prison for sexually abusing young students for years.
Joseph Lewin, 68, of Port Chester, faced a judge and his victims at the Rockland County courthouse in New City.
Lewin was arrested in May 2018 after five of his former gymnastics students came forward with their stories of abuse. He admitted to one count of child sex abuse back in June, but prosecutors said during that mid-summer trial that he had sexual contact with at least seven girls between 2007 and 2014.
The victims were Lewin’s students at Joe's Gym in Hillburn, which has since closed. Lewin also spent time working at several other gyms across Rockland County, including one in Suffern which has also since shut its doors.
Lewin most recently worked as a tumbling instructor in Stony Point.
It was an emotional day in court as three young women and three mothers read impact statements that were both disturbing and heartfelt. The statements caused many in the court to cry, including the judge and even the gymnastics coach responsible for abusing the girls.
The young women bravely told the judge how being sexually abused by their gymnastics coach impacted their lives, causing depression, anxiety, trust issues and emotional damage.
Many of the victims say four years behind bars will never be enough for the damage he caused. "It has been extremely hard. It's put a strain on my relationship with my dad and my brothers, even my mom. It's been hard, but I've been able to work through it and I've been able to grow from it," says Nicole Chiapperino.
These young women also told News 12 that they've lived with pain and fear for years, but now that Lewin has been sentenced, they are ready to put it all behind them and start a new chapter in their lives.
In addition to the prison sentence, Lewin will also have to register as a sex offender.