Sex accused coach still working at gym centre


By Paul Thornton

A COACH accused of sexually assaulting his students is STILL working at the centre where he is alleged to have attacked them.mitch dolphin

Mitchell Dolphin, 51, was suspended by Scottish Gymnastics in December 20007 following allegations from two women he trained.

But he admitted that he was still working in the LO-GY Centre in Loanhead.


Dolphin said he now worked in the office of the converted church which is still attended by children as young as 16-months old.

However he admitted that since the allegations against him came to light, attendance at the Midlothian gymnasium had dropped.

Giving evidence at his trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court Dolphin revealed he had opened the LO-GY Centre in 1984 and had been head coach and centre manager since day one.

He said the LO-GY Centre had started as a gymnastics club but after buying a church to house the club, they ran other activities – such as a crèche and pre-school clubs – to “pay the bills”.

When asked what the turnover of children at the gym was, Dolphin said: “Some will stay for a week or a month, some will stay for years so it is difficult to say what the turnover is.

“At the moment it is probably about 150 to 300 children per year. It has built up over time, it is actually in decline at the moment.

“Over time it has gone from very few to at one point in 2007 we were at around 500 individuals.”

Dolphin revealed that the club took children as young as 16 months into their “Jumping Jacks” club and trained members all the way through school age and beyond.

He said: “The minimum age is 16 months, as soon as they can toddle basically.”

Dolphin then described various classes which were held at various times in the LO-GY Centre including three to five years old and primary school children.

His defence lawyer, Vincent Belmonte, asked Dolphin where he was at the centre during these classes.

Dolphin replied: “Now I am in the office – previously the Thursday morning class was mine.”

On day 11 of his trial, Dolphin also defended claims he had used “inappropriate” stretching techniques on girls he was training.

Dolphin said: “The flexibility requirements of artistic gymnasts are extreme. To get them from just the ordinary resting length to the full range of you would need as a top-class international athlete it never stops.”

Prosecutors revealed that they were dropping three of the 22 allegations Dolphin had been charged with.

And Sheriff Frank Crowe told the jury they were no longer to consider another charge after the Crown finished their case against Dolphin.

Dolphin, now living in Newtongrange, continues to deny the remaining 18 charges which now involve 12 girls going back as far as 1986.

The trial continues.