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Park High School gymnastics coach put on leave after tattoo citations

Park High School gymnastics coach Terry Hardy was put on a paid leave of absence pending a district investigation after he was cited by Hastings police for tattooing a minor without written parental consent. (Bulletin file photo)

Park High School’s head gymnastics coach was placed on a paid leave of absence after he was criminally cited for tattooing a minor without written parental consent.

Terry Robert Hardy, 37, of Hastings, told Hastings police he had received verbal permission to tattoo the Cottage Grove teen, but police and parents dispute that.

Hardy was mailed two misdemeanor citations last week. The paid leave was effective on Thursday, Hardy said in an interview. He did not coach at Park’s meet Thursday night.

“When the district learned of it, he was put on leave immediately,” said Barb Brown, South Washington County Schools’ communications coordinator.

Hardy was put on leave pending further investigation. Brown did not disclose details or a timeline of that investigation. She said assistant coaches were helping with the team in Hardy’s absence.

Hardy also was fired from a separate position as head of District 833 Community Education’s youth gymnastics program.

In a phone interview, Hardy told the Bulletin he did not want to discuss the issue but did say that he wants to continue coaching. He said he does not know how long his leave of absence will last.

“I’ll always wish my girls the best of luck,” he said of the team.

It’s Hardy’s first year as Wolfpack head coach. He took over after co-coaching the past couple of years with longtime Park coach Mark Sikich, who has retired from coaching.

The tattoo incidents occurred in June or July at Hardy’s home, according to the Hastings police report. The girl was 15 at the time; she is now 16. The girl received two tattoos from Hardy, according to police. Her father went to police earlier this month to report it.

State law requires that anyone under 18 must have written parental consent in order to receive a tattoo.

Hardy is not a licensed tattoo artist by the state of Minnesota, according to Hastings police.

Chad Richardson of the Hastings Star Gazette contributed to this story.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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