Patrick Kunz speaks during his sentencing on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, at Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett, Washington.(Annie Barker / The Herald)

Patrick Kunz speaks during his sentencing on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, at Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett, Washington.(Annie Barker / The Herald)

Everett gymnastics coach who spied on students sentenced to 6 months

Patrick Kunz, 47, pleaded guilty to charges of voyuerism and possession of child pornography last month.

EVERETT — An Everett gymnastics coach who planted a camera in the gym’s youth bathroom was sentenced Thursday to six months in jail.

Last month, Patrick Kunz, 47, pleaded guilty to charges of attempted voyeurism and possession of child pornography. The defendant worked as a coach and managed the surveillance system at Leading Edge Gymnastics Academy in Everett, a gym that later moved and changed its name to Coastal Realm Gymnastics.

At least seven students, ranging in age from 10 to 17, may have used the bathroom while Kunz’s camera was present, gym owner and coach Casey Rigby told investigators. In a letter to the court, Rigby wrote that the kids have suffered psychological and mental harm as a result of Kunz’s actions.

On Thursday, Kunz’s family and members of the gym filled the courtroom.

“There is no worse crime than the crimes against children,” Rigby said in court. “They did not deserve this. My family did not deserve this. I did not deserve this.”

Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Marybeth Dingledy ordered Kunz, of Edmonds, to serve six months in jail. The prosecution and defense recommended that jail term.

The defendant had no prior felony convictions.

In December 2020, a student at the academy discovered a camera lens inside a paper towel dispenser in the bathroom, according to the charges. The camera lens, later learned to be from the back of a cell phone, faced the toilet. The student reported the incident to other coaches.

Rigby informed Kunz and took him to the restroom, according to the court documents. She asked him to prepare security footage for police while she filed a report.

After she left, Kunz “lingered” for about 15 to 30 seconds, charging papers say. The camera was gone by the time police responded shortly after.

Kunz voluntarily gave investigators his phone, according to the court documents. Two videos from a couple days prior were pending deletion. Another file reportedly showed child porn.

In a similar incident at the gym a year before, a plumber fixing the sink discovered a cellphone wedged underneath. Academy leaders turned the phone over to police, but investigators couldn’t access it because it was locked with a passcode.

Kunz reportedly told police he had the same kind of phone, but he’d lost it.

Gym students were scared of entering the bathroom following Kunz’s arrest, causing Rigby to move her business to a different building, according to court documents.

On Thursday, Dingledy addressed the coaches and victims in court.

“This is not your fault,” Dingledy said. “It’s not your fault. You know who the fault belongs to, and it’s not you.”

She turned to Kunz.

“I think you understand what you have done,” Dingledy said. “And I don’t know what you will do next, but I hope you can make amends and move forward.”

In court filings last week, defense attorney Lauren Wegener wrote that Kunz received a sexual deviancy evaluation and has been in mental health treatment for a year.

Kunz apologized to his former students and coworkers.

“The effect this has had has haunted me every day,” Kunz said in court. “I am a better person. I love each and every one of those children and the people that I hurt.”

Maya Tizon: 425-339-3434; maya.tizon@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @mayatizon.

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