Gymnastics coach facing child pornography charges

Man has coached programs in Lumby and Vernon

A North Okanagan man with a background in coaching gymnastics is facing criminal charges for alleged incidents involving child pornography.

Counts of possession of child pornography, accessing child pornography and importing or distributing child pornography have been laid against Chad Andrew McDowell.

Court documents show the alleged offences happened in Vernon on April 1, 2017.

McDowell, born in 1975, lists himself on a social media site as the owner of Kalamalka Acro and Tumbling based out of Armstrong.

His site profile shows the business as operating from “April 2013 to present” and that he is “currently teaching acro and gymnastics in Lumby, B.C.; looking to expand in other Okanagan small town.”

Village of Lumby deputy chief administrative officer Jeremy Sundin said the profile hasn’t been updated.

“We cancelled our arrangement with him in May 2016,” said Sundin.

McDowell and his business have been listed as a coach and contact in the White Valley Parks, Recreation and Culture brochure in Lumby, most recently in the organization’s 2016 winter brochure.

Sundin explained that McDowell approached village council in or around July 2013 offering to put on a gymnastics program for children, something not offered in Lumby at the time.

“It seemed liked a program we’d like to try,” said Sundin.

After initial success, Sundin said registration in the program dwindled and the village ended its relationship with the business.

Sundin said a current criminal check was conducted on McDowell, which came back clean, and that the village has three written references on file on McDowell.

“There was nothing in our due diligence to suggest we should not be engaging in a working relationship with him,” said Sundin, adding the village is “shocked and saddened to learn that a person they entered into a contractor relationship with has been accused of something so heinous.”

McDowell also coached at a gymnastics club in Vernon for 17 weeks in late 2012 and early 2013, and was subsequently released from his duties by the club, which states its last contact with the coach was in December 2012.

RCMP will only say a 41-year-old Vernon man was arrested and charged as a result of an ongoing investigation. The accused has now been released from custody on strict conditions and the matter is before the courts. No further information is available at this time.

None of the charges against McDowell have been proven in court.

He is slated to appear in Provincial Court in Vernon in August.

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