A Twin Cities gymnastics coach has been put on leave after a Cottage Grove father accused him of tattooing his 15-year-old daughter without her parents' knowledge.

Along with being put on leave as the girls' gymnastics coach at Park of Cottage Grove, Terry Hardy, 38, of Hastings, has been fired as coordinator of gymnastics for the South Washington County School District's community education program. He is not a teacher in the district.

Police Lt. Jim Rgnonti said Tuesday that Hardy was interviewed by authorities and "made no bones about it. He said he did it." A message was left Tuesday for Hardy seeking his reaction to the misdemeanor allegations.

School district spokeswoman Barbara Brown said Hardy's leave as coach will continue while authorities sort out the allegations, which were made to police last week by the father of Abby Rasmussen, who is now 16.

Rasmussen, who is not a gymnast, showed KMSP-TV, Ch. 9, her tattoos and told the station that Hardy tattooed a cross on the back of her neck, the word "strength" on her wrist and her favorite song lyrics across one shoulder. She also told the station that Hardy pierced her tongue, but that she removed the stud.

Hardy was cited on two counts of assault, specifically violating a requirement that "written authorization from both custodial and noncustodial parents be provided before a tattoo is applied to a person under the age of 18," police said in a statement.

Rasmussen allegedly received her tattoos in June. As of Aug. 1, the state law on minors and tattoos was stiffened. Now, juveniles are forbidden to receive tattoos, even if parents approve.

A state Health Department list of licensed "body art technicians," last updated Friday, does not include Hardy. Tattooing or providing body piercings without a license is against the law in Minnesota.

Police Chief Bryan Schafer said additional citing of Hardy concerning his lack of a license "surely is a possibility."

Rgnonti said police have yet to hear whether other minors received tattoos illegally from Hardy.

City Attorney Dan Fluegel said that he's waiting for the case to be turned over to him by police and that he was declining to comment.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482