Jon Valdez charged with class IV felony

Uh-oh. ESPN reports that former Illinois men’s coach Jon Valdez has been brought up on “one count of unathorized videotaping.”

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — A former University of Illinois gymnastics coach has been charged with secretly videotaping a gymnast in a campus locker room.

John Valdez, who coached Justin Spring at the Beijing Olympics, was charged Tuesday with one count of unauthorized videotaping, Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz said. The charge is a Class 4 felony and carries a potential sentence of one to three years in prison.

Valdez resigned from the university in October, citing personal issues.

A gymnast training on Sept. 25 with Valdez in the gym used by the men’s gymnastics team noticed a handheld video camera partially hidden under a T-shirt in an open locker, Rietz said.

The 22-year-old gymnast, who is a student, reported the camera to Valdez, but later called campus police and found the incident had never been reported to them, the prosecutor said.

Police who later searched the 40-year-old Valdez’s Urbana home found the camera.

“The images had been deleted, but the technicians were able to restore the deleted images,” Rietz said. She didn’t immediately comment on what was on the tape.

Strange as all this is, I can’t help wonder if it isn’t all a big mistake. Suppose Valdez brought the camera to tape his athletes for legitimate training purposes, as happens all the time. Suppose he accidentily left it on instead of off in his locker, which happened to be next to some other gymnast’s.

Suppose he took it home, saw the tape, was like, “oops, had it turned on in the locker. Didn’t mean to do that,” and deleted the images. Is that plausible?

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4 Responses to “Jon Valdez charged with class IV felony”

  1. mkennedy Says:

    I agree…I think this is a mistake and/or witch hunt!

  2. duder Says:

    It is plausible. But it is, of course, also plausible that he wanted pictures of gymnasts in the locker room changing. I mean, gymnasts are hot. He could have been using the video for personal purposes, not mention the fact that there are also numerous potentially lucrative outlets for such images. Now I do not know anything about this situation beyond what I have read in the blogs, and I really have no particular opinion on the matter, but I do believe that it is perfectly plausible that this man was doing untoward things with the videotape.

  3. anon Says:

    Umm, if he didn’t mean to do it, why didn’t he just tell the gymnast in question that instead of saying he’d go to the police and then not?

  4. TCOisbanned? Says:

    A girl’s gotta make money somehow. 😉

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