Everett gymnastics coach charged with voyeurism, child porn

Patrick Kunz, who lived in Edmonds, is accused of placing cameras in a bathroom at an Everett gym.

EVERETT — An Edmonds man has been charged with placing cell phone cameras in a youth gymnastics bathroom and possessing child pornography.

Patrick Kunz, 44, was a coach at the Leading Edge Gymnastics Academy in Everett, where he was also in charge of the surveillance system. On Dec. 9, a preteen girl found a paper towel dispenser box with a hole in the corner facing the toilet, according to charging papers filed in Snohomish County Superior Court. Inside the hole, witnesses saw the lens of a cell phone camera facing out.

At least six girls used the bathroom while the box was there, one coach told police. Another coach took Kunz to the bathroom where the box with the phone was discovered. While the other coach reported the incident to police, she told Kunz to prepare security footage.

But instead of then following her out of the bathroom, Kunz reportedly lingered for about 15 to 30 seconds. When police looked in the box, there was no longer a cell phone inside. Kunz said in a written statement he didn’t enter the bathroom. He told police he was in there the previous day, but only stood in the doorway on Dec. 9 when the coach showed him the suspicious box.

Kunz told detectives he touched the box a few days earlier, but denied setting up a camera inside it. He voluntarily gave officers his cell phone that was issued to him by his other employer, an IT business based in King County.

On the phone, detectives did not find any videos of minors in the bathroom. Two videos from a few days earlier, Dec. 6, were pending deletion, however. They both showed a black screen with the sound of a fan, matching the “distinct pattern” of the one in the gymnastics facility’s bathroom, according to the charges. The fan went off every 8 minutes for about 15 seconds.

Another file allegedly depicted child porn.

Surveillance footage showed Kunz entering the 1500 Industry St. gym at about 1:45 p.m. Dec. 9, according to charging papers. He plugged his phone into the charger and set his laptop on the desk. About an hour later, he reportedly took his phone and walked in the direction of the office and the bathrooms. The footage then showed Kunz standing in the bathroom hallway carrying what looked to detectives like a roll of paper towels. He returned to the front desk before heading back down the bathroom hallway, holding something he appeared to be hiding. Kunz can then be seen at about 4 p.m. being told by the other coach about the camera’s discovery.

Later, Kunz was reportedly seen on video using his phone near the front desk. When he returned to coach students, he looked distracted as he continued to use the phone, according to the court documents. Staff don’t usually use their phones while coaching, according to witnesses.

“It is possible that the defendant was deleting files and other information from the phone during this time,” Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Michael Boska wrote in the charging papers.

Kunz was charged Monday with first-degree attempted voyeurism and second-degree possession of child pornography.

This was not the first time a cell phone had been found to be recording in the gym’s bathroom. In mid-October, a man came to repair the sink and discovered a cell phone wedged under it. It was hot to the touch and actively recording.

Academy leaders turned the phone over to police, but they were unable to access it because it was locked with a passcode. At some point after the Google Pixel 2 XL had been seized, Kunz saw it sitting on a counter, according to the charges. He reportedly said he used to have one like that, but he’d lost it.

On Oct. 16, the day after the phone was located, Kunz uninstalled and reinstalled the operating system on a work-issued laptop for his IT job.

Kunz’s wife, who moved out after finding he was a suspect, also told detectives she caught him secretly recording her.

Prosecutors did not object to Kunz remaining out of custody as he awaits trial. This comes with the conditions that he have no interactions with minors and no contact with the gym.

His arraignment is set for Aug. 4.

Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439; jake.goldstein-street@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.

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