Gymnastics teacher accused of sexual abuse pleads not guilty

SYCAMORE, Ill. (AP) -- A former gymnastics instructor accused of sexually abusing girls has pleaded not guilty.

Joseph R. Hannon has been in custody since December when he was arrested on charges that he abused a 9-year-old. More charges were added and the number of alleged victims is now six, all younger than age 13.

The (DeKalb) Daily Chronicle reports the 22-year-old pleaded not guilty Friday to charges that carry a potential penalty of life in prison.

The DeKalb County Public Defender's office, which has represented Hannon, didn't immediately return an Associated Press request for comment Sunday.

Hannon is due in court May 4.

Energym hired Hannon in 2015, when he was on felony probation for a 2013 felony drug case.

Gym owner Andy Morreale has said Hannon was hired without a background check.