BOCA RATON, Fla. — According to the Broward County Sheriff's Office, a gymnastics instructor at Twister Gymnastics in Boca Raton is facing nine charges for possessing and compiling child pornography, and detectives are concerned there may be local victims.
Hassan Jawad, 37, has been teaching at the school, at 3100 N.W. Boca Raton Blvd., for more than a year.
Detectives with the Internet Crimes Against Children task force arrested Jawad at his home in Deerfield Beach Thursday morning.
Their investigation began earlier this month when detectives learned that a computer had been advertising or sharing child pornography images online since January.
During their investigation, detectives found multiple videos and images of boys engaged in sex acts with boys or men. Most of the victims appear to be between 7 and 13.
WPTV Reporter Andrew Lofholm reached Twister Gymnastics by phone and they said that Jawad has been fired.
Jo Englesson said her kids were coached by Jawad at Twisters.
"He’s the kind of guy you would ask to babysit,” she said.
“The way I saw him interact with kids, here he was very professional, very good at his job,” she said. “I got the email and I was like, okay this is a little weird and it’s our teacher.”
Twisters Director of Operations Sara Shugar told us, “We were completely devastated and to be quite frank, angry.”
She added, “There’s never been any sign of this, we’ve never had a complaint by a parent. Never from a coach.”
“I am just happy that law enforcement is doing what they’re doing. I have no idea how they figured that out,” Englesson said.
It turns out, one of the keys to the investigation happened to also be in Boca Raton.
"Our technology was involved in the identification of this individual,” said Child Rescue Coalition President William Wiltse.
The Child Rescue Coalition developed technology that helps law enforcement in 90 different countries bust people who download or distribute child porn.
The program essentially mimics what a user would do and leads police to that person with
"Our technology made the inquiry and at some point in the past, his computer confessed to us ‘I have feloniously possessed material,” he said.
Twisters also says they allow parents to always be present, have 24-hour surveillance and never have a coach alone with a child.
As part of the continuing investigation, detectives want to determine if Jawad victimized any children. Anyone with information about Jawad should contact BSO ICAC Detective Jennifer Montgomery at 954-888-5239. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS (8477) or online at www.browardcrimestoppers.org .
The Twister Gymnastics website has taken its staff page offline, but an archived version includes this bio of Jawan:
“Coach Hassan has been coaching for over ten years, with much of his experience coaching boys competitively, both compulsory and optional athletes. He also judged for Region 6 Men's Gymnastics. He is very experienced with coaching recreational students; boys, girls, and preschoolers. Prior to coaching, Hassan was a gymnast and a personal trainer while living in Boston. He was born in Sierra Leone, West Africa to Lebanese parents and speaks English and Arabic. He studied at the American University of Science and Technology and he hopes to finish his degree in the near future. Hassan loves learning and believes knowledge has no limits. He loves working at Twisters because he loves working with kids and sharing his knowledge with them as he tries to bring them joy.”
A gymnastics instructor is facing nine charges for possessing and compiling child pornography, and #BSO detectives are concerned there may be local victims. Learn more: https://t.co/eHP3hdLfYq pic.twitter.com/7zVjbGna2H
— Broward Sheriff (@browardsheriff) February 28, 2019
As part of the continuing investigation, detectives want to determine if Jawad victimized any children. Anyone with information about Jawad should contact BSO ICAC Detective Jennifer Montgomery at 954-888-5239. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS (8477) or online at www.browardcrimestoppers.org.