- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 13, 2016

ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) - A former gymnastics coach in Union and Atlantic counties is charged with sexually assaulting an underage female athlete multiple times in the 1980s and ‘90s.

Fifty-four-year-old Thomas Waddell was arrested Friday at his home in Ridgewood. He faces sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault charges.

The Union County prosecutor’s office said Tuesday the nine-month investigation began after the alleged victim wrote to state police.

Prosecutors allege the assaults occurred when the girl was under 13 and Waddell was coaching at the Eastern Gymnastics Academy in Cranford and the Perfect Balance Gymnastics Academy in Mays Landing.

The alleged assaults occurred over two years beginning in 1989, prosecutors said.

It wasn’t known if Waddell had retained an attorney, and a message left at a number listed under his name Tuesday wasn’t returned.

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