February 08, 2012 - A 24-year-old gymnastics/tumbling coach is accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old female Jan. 25 in the parking lot of Great Lakes Elite (GLE) Gymnastics & Cheer (715 N. Lapeer Rd.) in Oxford Township.
Jeffrey Edward LeFevre, of Troy, was arraigned Friday, Feb. 3 in Rochester Hills 52-3 District Court on felony charges of third-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a person between the ages of 13 and 15 (a 15-year felony) and soliciting a minor for immoral purposes, a four-year felony.
The victim was receiving instruction at GLE.
LeFevre is currently being lodged in the Oakland County Jail in lieu of posting a $250,000 cash bond.
According to Oakland County Sheriff's Det. Jason Louwaert, LeFevre admitted to engaging in sexual acts with the victim inside his parked vehicle.
In addition to the alleged sexual assault, sheriff's investigators indicated LeFevre allegedly asked the victim to take nude photos of herself. He allegedly gave her written instructions on how to pose in the photos and even provided her with a digital camera.
"We're all extremely upset," said GLE co-owner Beth, who requested her last name not be published. "Every single person in that gym, they had no idea that any of this was taking place."
LeFevre had been employed at GLE since November 2010 and apparently, he was "not the person that we thought we knew," Beth said.
When information regarding the alleged sex crime was reported to GLE management on Friday, Jan. 27, Beth said LeFevre was immediately suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.
Within minutes of the suspension, LeFevre voluntarily resigned his position, according to Beth.
"We took his key and walked him out the door," she said.
Beth wanted to make it clear that the incident allegedly took place in the parking lot, not inside the gym facility. She indicated GLE has rules in place to ensure the safety of its students while inside the facility.
"He was never alone in the gym teaching a student – that's our policy," Beth said.
Beth said everyone at GLE keeps racking their brains, asking themselves, "Did we see it? Did we hear anything? Did we see any of this coming? Did we have any idea?
"Nobody (did) and he worked with a lot of different people."
She noted that LeFevre never behaved as anything but a model employee.
"He acted and performed as a very dependable employee," Beth said. "He was always there on time. He was always helpful. He did beyond what we requested him to do."
From the coaches to the parents to the students, "everyone at the gym was devastated" by the news of LeFevre's alleged crime, according to Beth.
"We're a very close-knit family," she explained. "We all feel violated right now. It's impacted the teams. It's impacted all the coaches. This is the last thing we would have ever dreamed could happen.
"We truly feel violated. Our reputation has been violated. Our trust has been violated."
Beth noted that a "fresh background check" was conducted on LeFevre in November 2011 as part of the routine process for renewing his coaching license.
This background check was conducted by the USA Gymnastics (USAG), according to Beth.
Based in Indianapolis, Indiana, USAG is the sole national governing body for the sport of gymnastics in the United States. This designation comes from the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Gymnastics Federation.
Beth noted that USAG has "extremely high moral standards."
"They do very thorough background checks and nothing showed up on this at all," she said.
What this background check did not reveal was that LeFevre is currently on probation. In July 2011, he was convicted in Macomb County 41-B District Court of the misdemeanor offense of using a computer to commit a crime.
According to Louwaert, LeFevre was originally charged with extortion.
"He was basically threatening to make sexually explicit pictures public – pictures of the victim in that case," the detective said.
Louwaert said he was "surprised to hear" the background check came back clean.
"I'm not sure what type of background check they did or what service they used for that," he said. "I don't know what methods they use to do that, but apparently it didn't uncover this."
When asked if LeFevre could be connected to any other potential victims, Louwaert replied, "We've gotten information that he may have approached other girls about this. We're not sure if (anything) happened yet and we're still looking into that."
Prior to GLE, Louwaert said LeFevre's resume indicated he was an instructor at Gymnastics Training Center in Rochester Hills; That's Entertainment Studio for the Performing Arts in Kimball Township, St. Clair County; and Elite Cheer in Chesterfield Township, Macomb County.
He also previously owned his own business as an instructor and had a contractual relationship with the Avondale school district in Auburn Hills.
"He wasn't a school employee," Louwaert noted. "He owned his own company (and) put his services out there for hire."
The sheriff's department is asking anyone with information regarding LeFevre's alleged involvement in this incident or similar incidents to contact Det. Louwaert at the Oxford Township substation. The number is (248) 969-3077.
The sheriff's department noted that GLE Gymnastics & Cheer has been and continues to be very cooperative throughout this investigation.
"They haven't struck me as the type that want to cover this up at all," Louwaert said.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.