Key Biscayne chief to address public after allegations of sex abuse by gymnastics coach

Key Biscayne residents rattled by reports of a longtime coach trailed by allegations that he sexually abused young gymnasts roughly 10 years ago may get some answers from the village on Tuesday.

On the Key Biscayne council’s regular meeting agenda is a “special presentation” by Chief Francis Sousa in response to a petition asking for a town hall to discuss sex abuse allegations involving the coach, Oscar Olea.

Olea has been charged with no crime and can still coach, although one gym he had been coaching at said he is no longer welcome there.

It is the first scheduled public meeting since the Miami Herald published an investigation on Olea, a Key Biscayne gymnastics coach and studio operator. The meeting will be 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers, at 560 Crandon Blvd., behind the fire station.

The Herald learned of at least three alleged victims from the past: one who says she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by Olea during private gymnastics lessons when she was 13 and he was 25, a second woman who had allegedly been raped by Olea when she was 17 and he was 25 and a third woman who says he engaged her in sex for about three years while she was underage and he was eight years older.

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Olea, 38, had recently been under investigation by the Key Biscayne Police Department over allegations that he had spoken to and touched a 7-year-old and a 4-year-old inappropriately during gymnastics lessons. That case was taken to the State Attorney’s office last month, but no charges were filed and the case was closed.

The Herald’s story raised questions about the police handling of past complaints by mothers of the 17-year-old and the 13-year-old. The complainants were reluctant to go on the record and the matter went nowhere.

Since the Herald story published, all three alleged victims from the past have come forward to Key Biscayne police and were told that the case would be taken back to the State Attorney’s office.

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When asked whether his presentation would directly address the Olea investigation, Chief Sousa e-mailed a statement saying he would be ”addressing the elected officials, our residents, and interested parties on our department, the investigative process, and our relationship with our regional partners.”

Key Biscayne resident Cecile Sanchez posted an “all concerned please attend” message on the Nextdoor app.

Oscar Olea, coaching at a gym in Kendall. Clara-Sophia Daly
Oscar Olea, coaching at a gym in Kendall. Clara-Sophia Daly

The petition requesting the town hall, which had almost 600 signatures as of Monday, called for village leaders to address why the small island community was “left in the dark” about the latest allegations involving Olea as well as an FBI investigation unrelated to Olea that led to the arrest of a Key Biscayne resident on child pornography charges.

Louisa Conway, the Key Biscayne resident who started the petition, said: “A lot of folks just felt like, ‘what are the police doing? How come we didn’t know about this?’ ”

In addition to addressing questions about the investigative process, Conway said she hopes a town hall will also educate the community about how residents can best protect their kids moving forward. Conway plans to speak during the meeting.

“I’m hoping that we just have a lesson learned as a community and this will be our opportunity to take the bull by the horns and really make sure we serve and protect these kids,” she said. “The kids can’t speak up for themselves… and shame on all of us if we can’t at least speak up for them.”