Three Gymnasts Sue Coaches and Owner of OC Gym

SANTA ANA (CNS) - Three gymnasts are suing an Aliso Viejo-based gym, alleging they were battered and emotionally abused by their coaches.

Azarian Gymnastics did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the suit filed Friday in Orange County Superior Court.

The suit filed on behalf of Ashton Woodbury, 19, of Berkeley, Katelyn You, 15, of Laguna  Niguel, and Bela Block, 13, of Aliso Viejo, names Argonaut LLC, Azarian Gymnastics and coaches Eduard and Marina Azarian, Albina Azarian Myers, Trevor Myers and Taylor Jacobs as defendants. Eduard Azarian is the owner of the gym.

The lawsuit alleges abuse at the hands of coaches Vanessa Gonzales, Perry Davies and Taylor Jacobs. The plaintiffs' court papers allege the gymnasts were prodded to “strenuously train'' despite physical injuries and that the coaches would inflict “physical, emotional and verbal abuse'' on the athletes.

You, who trained at the gym between 2010 to 2011 and 2014 to 2015, alleges that her coaches would batter her with a “foam instrument'' that caused “bruising, swelling'' and “emotional alarm.''

Block and Woodbury allege the same treatment from 2013 through 2018, and from 2011 to 2018, respectively.

The lawsuit alleges the coaches would “scream and yell'' at the athletes while training and that they were also subjected to “body shaming'' as they were compared to other gymnasts and “punitive conditioning'' that left them suffering “anxiety, extreme fear, sleep disruption, depression, eating disorder, suicidal ideation, self-harm, pain and suffering.''

The lawsuit also alleges negligence and fraud.

“Every young athlete deserves the opportunity to learn, train and grow in their chosen sport without interference, fear or abuse,'' said Eric Traut, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs.

“Allegations of physical, verbal and emotional abuse against youth athletes must be taken seriously,'' said another plaintiff’s attorney, Judie Saunders. “These forms of abuse cause significant long-term injury to survivors and their families.''

Photo: Getty Images

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