BROOMFIELD, Colo. — Though he was accused of sexual assault by a pair of boys he once coached in gymnastics, a jury found Robert Barke not guilty on all counts against him Friday.
In total, 20 charges were brought against the 32-year-old Barke. They included sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust, sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust as a pattern of abuse, sexual assault on a child and unlawful sexual contact.
Over the course of the past week, two of Barke’s former students, now 21 and 22, testified that from October 2004 to June 2007, Barke sexually abused them while he was their coach at Xtreme Altitude Gymnastics in Broomfield.
At the time, the boys were 12 and 14 years old.
According to an arrest affidavit, the two former students told police that Barke played pornographic videos and touched them inappropriately when they were alone on separate occasions.
One of the two former students testified during the trial that he often stayed at Barke’s apartment and in hotel rooms with him during gymnastic trips, saying his behavior was “not normal.”
It wasn’t until 2013, when the two former students reconnected on Facebook, that charges ended up being field against Barke. And it was the mother of one of the former students who ended up formally filing those charges.
One of the two victims said he did not come forward with his allegations because of “how difficult it was to process the memories,” according to an arrest affidavit.
Barke was living in Houston, Texas when he was arrested in March 2013. He was released on $100,000 bond.
Though they declined interview requests, the management team at Xtreme Altitude Gymnastics in Broomfield issued a statement saying they were “shocked” to hear of the charges against Barke.
Hideo Mizoguchi, owner of Champion Gymnastic Academy in Katy, Texas were Barke was working at the time of his arrest, was also surprised to learn of the charges when they were filed.
At the time, Mizoguchi said Barke “deserved a chance to prove his innocence,” though Barke’s position at the academy was terminated shortly after his arrest.