Defendant attributed incidents involving three girls to carpal tunnel syndrome, officials said.
A gymnastics instructor faces criminal sexual conduct charges after allegedly touching girls inappropriately at a Plymouth gymnastics academy.
Gergely Deli, 37, of Rockford, is accused of slipping his hands under one girl's leotard about four times "when spotting her during handstands," according to a criminal complaint filed Friday in Hennepin County District Court.
Two other girls also claimed that he had placed his fingers under their leotards.
When a fellow instructor claimed to have seen Deli touch a girl's vagina over her clothes as she stretched and then confronted him about it, he is alleged to have attributed the incident to a struggle with carpal tunnel syndrome, the charges state.
During a news conference Friday afternoon, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman wondered aloud whether having carpal tunnel syndrome might cause a person to reach inside a leotard "again and again and again."
"I don't think so," he concluded.
Two girls interviewed by CornerHouse -- a nonprofit that works with allegedly abused children -- said that Deli told them, too, that he was having trouble with one of his hands. But the two of them noted that he had used both hands when touching their private areas.
Freeman said that police began investigating in August and that, although he hoped there were no other victims, he could amend the complaint to add others, if necessary.
As a father of three daughters who were athletes, he added that he could understand a parent's concerns with such allegations.
"Better not mess with my daughters," Freeman said.
Deli was being held in the county jail on Friday night in lieu of $100,000 bail. He has been charged with three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and is scheduled to make his first court appearance Monday.
Anthony Lonetree • 612-673-4109