Top Scots gymnastics coach Mitch Dolphin found guilty of child abuse

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By Michael MacLeod

A SHAMED Scottish gymnastics coach faces jail for a 22-year campaign of sexual assaults on girls as young as seven years-old.

Perverted Mitchell Dolphin, 51, wept in the dock as he was found guilty today (THURS) of abusing six girls who he taught at his gym in Midlothian.

The verdict from the jury of four women and 11 men was swung by the evidence of a handful of former pupils at Dolphin’s Lo-Gy Centre gym, who were victims of his sickening abuse.

SHAMED: Mitch Dolphin convicted of abusing children
SHAMED: Mitch Dolphin convicted of abusing children

He has now been banned from his own gym for feeling up his pupils and forcing them to rub his privates.

The trampoline coach touched the youngsters’ breasts, squeezed their buttocks and made them straddle his lap in the gym.

Mouth

He even forced his tongue into a young girl’s mouth, while others had records of their menstrual cycles closely monitored on a calendar.

Others spoke of how he slipped his hands into their leotards during “box splits” stretches, while one girl – who was aged just 10 at the time – was kissed on the lips by Dolphin in his car.

His tactics were branded “sneaky” by prosecutor Melanie Ward during the trial, which was attended by dozens of parents who sent their children to his gym.

The creepy coach would rub his hands all over youngsters’ legs, claiming it was “perfectly legitimate” because he said he couldn’t afford a proper physio to massage them.

Dolphin was arrested in April last year and since moved away from the Loanhead gym to Newtongrange.

Lewd

He denied all charges against him throughout the four and a half week trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

But yesterday a jury found him guilty of sexual assault and lewd and libidinous behaviour from April 1986 to February 2008 against 12 girls in the Lo-Gy Centre, at Lasswade High School, in Dolphin’s former home, in his car and in a caravan at Seton Sands in East Lothian.

The court heard evidence from former British Gymnastics supremo Lloyd Readhead – who drew up child protection guidelines – that Dolphin used “completely inappropriate” stretching techniques.

But Dolphin – the son of a pair of Army fitness instructors – remained adamant that he was trying to develop a “family atmosphere” in the gym.

Laws

Giving evidence during the trial, Dolphin launched a bizarre attack on child protection laws, saying he was against the “dogmatic following of more and more draconian regulations”.

But his former pupils, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were left feeling “exposed”.

One woman, now an events manager, told court that it was considered normal for Dolphin to squeeze the young gymnasts’ bottoms while warming up for a “box split” exercise.

She said: “During the warm-up for the box splits, for want of a better word you would clench your bum-cheeks.

“Mitch would come round and check by hand that you were doing it properly. He would squeeze your bum-cheeks and make sure you were tight.

The woman – who was aged between 12 and 16 during her time at Dolphin’s gym – added that the coach singled out her younger sister as his “protégé”.

Tongue

She said: “I saw (the girl) almost as his protégé. He would pay her a lot of attention.

“She would be sitting on his knee and he would play with her hair. She would only have been coming up for 11.

“Now, looking back, I am just aware of how much attention he paid her. I have visions of him standing behind her with his arm wrapped around her.”

Another woman who was a member at the gymnasium during the early nineties described an incident where Dolphin had tried to kiss her on the lips.

The 30-year-old said: “I was between seven and nine years old.

“I remember he came to kiss me on the lips, unfortunately it was around the same time that I was learning about snogging and French kissing.

“I was hanging from parallel bars at the time. He went to do something disgusting.

“I stuck my tongue out but he was already there.”

The woman said she stuck her tongue out to put Dolphin off trying to kiss her.

The same woman – and her sister – both described stretching exercises that Dolphin had performed on them when they were aged around 11.

Dolphin will be sentenced next month.

Sheriff Frank Crowe told him: “You have been found guilty of a number of charges against gymnasts in your care over a long period.

Excused

“Because you have no previous convictions I will require reports to consider what the appropriate sentence will be.

“You will be released on bail meantime on the condition that you do not enter the Lo-Gy Centre gym or Lasswade High School.

“And because of the nature of the convictions you are affected by the sex offender’s legislation and will be required to contact your local police station.

“The length of period you are on the register will be determined when I am pass sentence, which will require specialist reports.”

The sheriff also thanked the jury for their patience “in an unenviable situation,” excusing them from jury duty for five years.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. This man is a creep and so is his dirty wife for staying with him, they still run the LO~GY Centre as he works from home with all the childrens contact details and access to the CCTV from the centre, keep your kids safe and do not attend the LO~GY Centre. Hope he goes to jail.

    • what a load of crap, you are better not giving your opinion on something that you have neither no idea what your talking about nor were you show your small dirty mindedness, why in anyones right mind would you start on his wife unless you are a complete and utter nutter! If you don’t beleive someone has done something (which countless people still do not think he has) why would you not still be standing up for them? There are more people at the LO-GY centre that want him back than wanted him to leave, so don’t start talking rubbish, every child at the LO-GY centre is safe and in alot of peoples oppinion always have been!

      • Yeah I am sure all the kids he abused want him back there and im sure all the kids at the LO-GY centre are safe now hes in jail. Dirty creep.

    • Firstly i am going to start with you should never judge people from what you hear from pathetic immature people. I myself have been coached by Mitch and not once did he ever do anything innappropriate to me. For several years i went to the Lo~gy Centre and not once did i see anything inappropriate going on. As for picking on his wife, you should all be ashamed of yourselves. Not one of you know her and judging her on this is innappropriate on your behalf. If all you can do is sit on a computer all day reading stories about people and making comments about them then really you do need to get a life. Maybe even get off your butts and get a job. Gymbob as for Mitch working from home you know nothing as you are clearly talking out your butt, maybe in future you should get your facts right before making comments about anyone.

      As people say you should never judge people by the cover just like you should never judge a book by its cover. Maybe if you got to know Mitch himself you would have a different view on things.

      • u talk out your butt, have a little respect for all the poor girls that should in court in front of that vile man after the sick things he did to them, they are not pathetic immature people..YOU ARE. A lot of people thought they did know MD and he turned out to be a liar, although no one thought he was a paedo at the time everyone thought he was an arse, no one wants to know him now.

  2. I agree with gymbob and can’t understand why unknown ( I woulldn’t want to be known standing up for this pervert or his wife either) is being so abusive about him being caught at long last. He is where he deserves to be and thanks to those brave girls who came forward other girls will not have to go through what they did. How you can defend an animal like this makes you not much better than him. I hardly think that there is more people wanting him back and the rubbish seems to be coming from you. Lo-gy was not a safe place to be and a jury after hearing the evidence decided that and I am sure they are much more qualified than you to make that statement. By the way you need to check your spelling and stop standing up for worthless cases. He got what he deserved unfortunately his victims did not and hopefully they can go on now and enjoy the rest of their lives.

  3. I agree with Gymbob here. I would want to remain unknown as well if I was trying to defend a pervert like Mitch Dolphin. The man was an animal and a jury found him guilty of the crimes he was accused of and I think they are more qualified to make that decision after sitting and listening to ALL the evidence. Lo-gy was not a safe place to be and anyone with half a brain cell would know that and after hearing that his wife was the child protection person at the time and I presume she has not left, I would have serious reservations of sending any child there now. Those brave victims did every parent a favour by speaking out and it has no doubt saved some other poor child from going through what they did. They are the ones who deserve to be supported and not this animal. You would be much better brushing up on your spelling than trying to support useless causes. Save your abuse for the person who causes Lo-gy to hit the headlines because he did nobody any favours here least of all you.

  4. As a previous pupil of his for many many years I’m unsure how to feel about this case and all the comments i have read on this and many other sites. I feel that unless you have a good understanding of gymnastics or similar sport, in general ,you cannot fully understand this case. Gymnasts will always have very close contact with their coaches and develop close relationships , especially with their so called “star pupils”
    In all the years I trained with Mitch i felt safe and secure and not at all scared or threatened by him or his training techniques. I spent many many hours on my own with this man , both in the gym and on route to competitions and on accasion in his house a few feet from the gym and always felt he was a caring and kind person. He did take his job very seriously and on occasion could leave you feeling low due to his constant demands to be the best and do your best. I remember him writing in huge letters on the wall “NO PAIN NO GAIN” and his constant drive for his gymnasts to be the best could sometimes be draining. He does have a problem with discipline and I clearly remember him rubbishing the new rules of ” no male coach alone with a female gymanst at any time” and he continued to spend evenings training me on a one to one basis.
    However , i want to make it clear that this is my experience of him (and I have had very negative experiences with a previous coach so i know the difference) and the effect it can have on your life in the long and short term can be devastating and clearly the experiences of others are different and I commend the bravery of them all especially the first girl that came forward. Clearly this man chose his victims carefully and thankfully I wasn’t one of them.

  5. I think everyone would agree that Mitch was a fantastic coach, but im sure everyone would also agrees its a shame he was a liar and has ruined the lifes of these girls and also let all his gymnasts down who respected him for the good gymnastics coach that he was when they didnt no he was doing this discusting things to the people they trained with

    MERRY XMAS MD (hope its a good one)

  6. I have read the comments above and mistery?? well what makes you think that the people making these comments are pathetic and immature? A strange assumption! also the assumption of no-one knowing his wife. Maybe they did and thats why they felt able to make their comments, after all she was the child protection person at the time. Speaks for itself don’t you think and NO! I am not ashamed of myself for saying that. Mitch Dolphin commited sexual crimes on some of the gymnasts he coached, FACT, he was found guilty, FACT and got 3 years imprisonment, FACT. I also do not sit at home all day looking up people on the computer and making comments on them, I do have a job as well but the actions of Mitch Dolphin not only affected the gymnasts he coached but a much wider following. Be thankful that nothing happened to you while you attended L0-GY and he was quoted as “sneaky”, in that he was clever enough to make sure nobody saw what he was doing. Everyone has the right to their own opinion. Mine is 3 years was not long enough.

  7. I trained with MD for many years and have to say i was deeply affected by his actions. He was such a controlling man and utterly disgusting but was also very clever with it! He deserves to rot in hell and all you people who believe he is innocent are completely deluded! It was no surprise to me to hear he was in court facing these charges! As for his so called loving wife…. did she sit in court to support him, NO! She must have been blind if she didnt know what was going on and if she did then she is just as bad as him to let it continue! So glad that there is now such a thing as ethics and welfare because this did not exist all those years ago so people like me had nowhere to turn and he knew that. Well done to the girls who reported him, very brave and did the right thing. Right decision was made by the jury but the sheriff didnt give him long enough. Enjoy the next 3 years MD, you will make some butch guy in jail a very happy man and I hope it really hurts like you have hurt others!

  8. I know all of the dolphin/Stark family and i can asure you they are all a waste of space! These girls alot of whome are good friends, now have to live with this for the rest of there lives! I personaly would be quite happy if the whole lot of them dropped of the face of the earth. I hope he screamed like a wee girl when he had the seven shades of shit knocked out him inside and when they poured boiling water over him i personaly get a great deal of satisfaction hearing things like this are happening to him. Well done girlies for putting Mitchell gray dolphin where he belongs!!!

  9. Me too, I hate this man and the rest of the dolphin/stark family. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN AND STAY AWAY FROM THE LOGY CENTRE. MD WILL BE OUT BEFORE YOU KNOW IT AND HE WILL HEAD STRAIGHT BACK TO LOGY GYM BECAUSE HE STILL OWNS IT !!!!!!!!!!!

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