Brevard gymnastics coach accused of molesting student

Rockledge police arrest Ronald Hartsfield

ROCKLEDGE, Fla. – A Brevard County gymnastics coach was arrested Thursday, accused of molesting a student during a road trip to Texas, police said.

Rockledge police said Ronald Hartsfield, 39, who owns Viera Gymnastics, was arrested on charges of lewd and lascivious molestation of a child under the age of 12.

Police said the incident occurred in May when Hartsfield took the girl on a road trip to Texas. Hartsfield was hauling a boat there and he tricked the victim's family to think his wife would be coming too, but when he hit the road with the girl, they were all alone, according to the report.

A judge on Friday ruled that Hartsfield, who is married, will be held without bond until a hearing on Aug. 17. The judge also said Hartsfiled cannot have any contact with children under the age of 18.

Rockledge police said they're concerned that there may be other victims. 

"Due to the nature of what our suspect does for a living, we put this information out should there possibly be more victims so they might be able to come forward," Rockledge police Lt. Donna Seyferth said.

In an business profile submission provided by the company to News 6 partner Florida Today, the gym was described as a competitive team gymnastics club specializing in women's artistic gymnastics. It was also listed as a nonprofit business.

"We provide a small class setting (one teacher per six students) to allow athletes ample time on apparatus and attention from coaches," according to the profile.

Hartsfield is a United States of America Gymnastics Junior Olympic Development coach with several years of experience, the profile states.

In April, Hartsfield was named the Cocoa Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Business Champion of the Month.

Both the company's website and Facebook page were disabled as of Friday morning.  

Anyone with information about Hartsfield is asked to call the Rockledge Police Department or call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS.

An investigation is continuing.

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