A former Joplin gymnastics coach has taken a plea offer on charges that he sexually abused a boy he had been coaching.

Kip A. Johnson, 47, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Jasper County Circuit Court to two counts of second-degree statutory sodomy in a plea agreement that would dismiss a related misdemeanor charge of furnishing pornographic materials to a minor and send him to prison for at least 120 days.

The plea bargain calls for sentences of five years on each count, with a promise that the prosecutor’s office will not oppose any defense request that Johnson be sent to the state’s sex offender assessment unit with a court review after 120 days for possible placement on probation.

Circuit Judge Dean Dankelson ordered the completion of a sentencing assessment of the defendant before a sentencing hearing March 6.

Johnson was a co-owner of Amplify Gymnastics when he was charged with the offenses in February 2021 in the wake of an investigation by Joplin police of disclosures made by a teen during an interview at the Children’s Center in Joplin.

Amplify Gymnastics was established after the 2011 tornado in Joplin, offering instruction in trampoline, tumbling and artistic gymnastics to boys and girls.

The boy told investigators that Johnson sexually abused him on multiple occasions and at several locations in Joplin, including various venues across the country where gymnastics competitions were held.

The two sodomy charges pertain to acts committed in 2018 and 2019 when the boy was between the ages of 14 and 16 and Johnson was his coach. A probable-cause affidavit states that Johnson began communicating with the teen through social media and text messages and eventually coaxed him into sending nude pictures of himself. Johnson also allegedly sent nude images of himself to the boy.

Two additional counts of second-degree statutory sodomy that were filed on Johnson remain pending in Newton County Circuit Court.

The affidavit there states that he sent the boy a text message in late January 2021 asking if he wanted to do something after practice and offering him a ride home. On their way, they purportedly stopped at a location on East 32nd Street in Newton County and engaged in sexual acts.

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Jeff Lehr is an award-winning reporter for The Joplin Globe who covers the courts and crime beat. He can be reached at jlehr@joplinglobe.com.