Vermont Circus School Closed After Coach Charged With Sex Assault on 7-Year-Old

A circus school for children canceled what remained of its summer camp and won't reopen in the fall following allegations that a coach sexually assaulted a 7-year-old camper, officials said.

"We are all shaken and heartbroken," said Ron Redmond, chairman of the board of trustees of the Vermont School of Circus Arts, who announced the decision Monday.

Sexual assault charges were earlier this month against Vladimir Avgoustov, 55, head coach at the circus school. According to court documents, a 7-year-old girl enrolled in one of the school's camp sessions told her mother Avgoustov had performed sexual acts on her. Avgoustov pleaded not guilty last week.

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The School of Circus Arts was created by parents last fall after another circus school, Circus Smirkus Academy, closed amid financial troubles.

Students across the age spectrum could learned circus skills there such as juggling, wire walking, unicycle riding and performing on a trapeze.

The parents hired Avgoustov and his wife, Zinadia Avgoustov, who had worked as coaches at Circus Smirkus, as head coaches of the new school. The couple, formerly with the Moscow State Circus, had emigrated to the United States several years ago to work at the school.