Edmonds youth gymnastics coach charged with attempted voyeurism, possessing child pornography

A 44-year-old Edmonds man was charged last week with one count of first-degree attempted voyeurism for allegedly installing a cell phone camera in a bathroom used by pre-teen and adolescent students at Everett’s Leading Edge Gymnastics Academy where he is employed as a youth gymnastics coach. He was also charged with one count of second-degree possession of child pornography, which detectives discovered after examining his cell phone.

In addition to coaching, the defendant is also in charge of managing and maintaining the facility’s surveillance system.

Charging documents filed July 19 in Snohomish County Superior Court allege that Patrick Kunz placed a cell phone camera inside the bathroom’s paper towel dispenser box on or about Dec. 6, 2020. It was first observed on Dec. 9 by a pre-teen female gymnastics student, who immediately reported it to another male coach at the facility. This coach, along with a second female coach, checked the bathroom and found the paper towel dispenser box with a square hole in the bottom corner facing the toilet. Looking into the hole, they observed a camera lens “resembling the lens on the back of a cell phone.”

The female coach confirmed to detectives that “at least six girls,” all aged 10-17, had most likely used the bathroom while the suspicious box was present. She also told investigators that the student who reported the camera told her that she had removed her clothes and exposed herself prior to discovering it.

In an effort to gather more information, the female coach approached Kunz, informed him of the discovery, and requested that in his capacity as surveillance system manager he prepare surveillance footage to provide police investigators. She took him to the bathroom where the box was found, and before leaving to go call police she observed the defendant closing the door and remaining alone in the room for “approximately 15-30 seconds.” When police arrived and examined the box, there was no longer a cell phone or recording device inside, leading to speculation that Kunz had removed it.

When later interviewed by police, the defendant denied that he had entered the bathroom, but only stood in the doorway.

Upon request, he voluntarily surrendered his cell phone to investigators. While no videos showing minors in the bathroom were found, police did discover two videos, both marked for deletion, showing a black screen, the audio portions of which contained a cycling sound pattern that matched that of the bathroom’s ventilation fan. Investigators also found in the phone’s memory a four-minute video, apparently not connected with the gymnastics school, of a prepubescent female undressing and suggestively exposing herself.

As part of their investigation, detectives reviewed surveillance footage from Leading Edge in an attempt to trace the defendant’s activities. Video from the time period between when the defendant was informed of the discovery of the paper towel box and when he turned over his cell phone to police shows him manipulating his cell phone at both the front desk and while he was teaching, leading detectives to speculate that he might have been “deleting files and other information from the phone.”

Detectives also interviewed the defendant’s wife, who along with the couple’s 17-year-old daughter, moved out of their Seaview-area Edmonds residence after learning that Kunz was a suspect.  According to documents filed with the court, the defendant’s wife stated that she had “concerns” after “she caught him secretly recording her in an intimate sexual position in the past.”

Kunz, currently free on personal recognizance, is scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 4.

— By Larry Vogel

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