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Pinellas gymnastics coach accused of duct-taping student’s mouth shut and posting pictures to Facebook

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

If you’re a coach and you decide to duct tape a kid’s mouth shut and then post pictures of it to Facebook and that kid’s mom used to be a lawyer, you’re going to have a bad time.

That’s what Lori Palmieri accuses her daughter’s gymnastics coach of doing. Palmieri is now suing Tracy Maggiacomo, the coach, and her employer, Victory Gymnastics Training Center in Oldsmar, for damages suffered by her daughter, Marisa Palmieri, from being “exploited” by the photos.

Palmieri is a retired prosecutor, but the case is being handled by an outside attorney.

It’s not clear how much in damages the family is seeking, but according to lawsuit documents it’s in excess of $15,000.

The photo in question does not appear to be on Maggiacomo’s Facebook page. The date provided in lawsuit filings say the incident happened on or around July 22, 2014. There are several photos during that time on Maggiacomo’s Facebook page. Many of the photos include gymnastics students performing or practicing, but none show a pupil with duct tape over her mouth.

The absence of a photo now does not mean it was never present. Maggiacomo could have since deleted the photo.

It’s unclear what evidence the Palmieri family has to prove the incident.

Maggiacomo is still listed as the recreational program director and team and tumbling coach for Victory.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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