Rock Climbing Coach Accused Of Sexually Assaulting Student

COLUMBIA, Md. (WJZ) — A rock climbing coach at Earth Treks is under arrest for allegedly sexually assaulting one of his 14-year-old students. 

Derek Valcourt has more on the allegations and reaction from fellow climbers.

At Earth Treks in Timonium, news of a popular coach’s arrest is now spreading.

“Well, it’s scary and it’s pathetic,” said one.

“It’s pretty shocking.  It’s disturbing,” said another.

Rock climbing instructor Michael Lyons, 31, was arrested at the Timonium Earth Treks Monday afternoon and charged with multiple sex crimes against a minor.  She’s a 14-year-old girl who was a member of his competitive climbing team at the Earth Treks in Columbia.

“What we’ve learned from the student is that she and this instructor had this ongoing relationship of a sexual nature and they’ve had that going on since April.  She talked to her parents about it and then they reported it to a police department,” said Sherry Llewellyn, Howard County police.

For their part, officials at Earth Treks declined our request for an interview, instead issuing a written statement.

“Earth Treks has since terminated [Lyons] as an employee.  We are cooperating fully with Howard County police in their investigation and encouraging members of the Earth Treks community to contact the police with any relevant information.”

“He’s a nice guy.  I know a bunch of his students.  He’s a great teacher, so it’s sad to hear, but hopefully they’re wrong,” said Sarah Ryan.

“That’s disgusting.  Why would you do that?  That’s taking advantage of the situation.  A 14-year-old doesn’t know what’s going on, she’s scared probably.  That must be frustrating for the parents,” said Natalie Debie.

Police say because Lyons has been working with young kids for so long, they think it’s possible there may be other victims.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Howard County police at 410-313-3200.

Comments

One Comment

  1. JackDaniels says:

    THEY HAD SOMETHING GOING ON SINCE APRIL?????

    HE DEFINITELY SHOULD BE PROSECUTED FOR THIS, BUT THIS GIRL IS NOT AN INNOCENT “VICTIM”!!!!!!!!

    SHE KNEW WHAT WAS WHAT!!!!!!

  2. What a shame says:

    @JackDaniels, your backwards ass comment is why victim’s of this age don’t come forward. She’s only 14 years old you nut bag, do you remember being 14 and how you wanted to fit in. It’s not her fault, the pervert is the adult and should be locked up for life.

    1. Herman Glimsher says:

      FITTING IN FOR A 14 YEAR OLD IS NOT HAVING SEX WITH A MAN……………IT’S BEING ACCEPTED BY OTHER PEOPLE YOUR OWN AGE…………..AND, THERE ARE PLENTY OF PRECOCIOUS 14 YEAR OLDS THAT LEARNED AT A YOUNG AGE THAT THEY COULD GET WHAT THEY WANTED BY USING THEIR SEX APPEAL………….. AND, SHE PROBABLY LEARNED THIS BEHAVIOR FROM WATCHING OTHER ADULT WOMEN AND HOW THEY INTERACTED WITH MEN………………..OPEN YOUR EYES AND STOP BEING SO NAIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. J says:

    You know what, the problem with these sexual assault cases is that they are witch hunts, there is no evidence, no witnesses, only a so called victim and an so called aggressor, and a state that is only willing to listen to one. In these cases a simple assist becomes sexual assault, even if its clearly in the line of the job. And its not like some of these girls have not lied in the past to advance their own agendas. I seriously doubt anything really happened.

  4. Dan says:

    I doubt this is an accurate story. I think someone who has been actively coaching people in Earth Treks and a competitive climbing team is not going to risk it all for a 14 year old.

    Aside from the accusation, I think this story is very hard to believe to begin with. An instructor of a rock climbing gym is in decent enough shape and physique to not concern him or herself with someone half their age…

    Some will say that there are perverts and disgusting people out there. However I believe this whole relationship between the climber and the instructor was purely friendly and nothing more. I think as a physical instructor or trainer, some contact with your student is necessary.

    This girl’s looking for attention. Their friendship was taken out of context and as a result made to look like a sexual abuse or harassment case. Everyone needs to understand that a child(14) should not be able to ruin someone’s life just because they were uncertain how to explain their close friendship with an instructor or mentor. That’s all. Thanks.

    1. Climb ON says:

      The coach admitted to the police the allegations were true.

    2. Another climber says:

      Dan, this is not the kind of attention any girl wants to get. I’m sure she’s experiencing a whole gambit of emotions including embarrassment and guilt. In the climbing community guys with awesome physiques are a dime a dozen, and there are far more guy climbers than girl climbers. Having contact and having sex are very different things. I’m sure in his mind he wasn’t risking it all since he didn’t believe he’d be caught. Everyone deserves a fair trial, but I don’t doubt these allegations for a second.

  5. I says:

    I was on his team for three years. He repeatedly made sexual remarks towards me and my fellow team mates. It was even rumored that he slept with one when she turned 18. He always made them seem like a joke. So when we turned them down he would just laugh.
    No one ever really thought they were a joke.

    I grew up around very bad things but I never wanted this to happen to someone on team. I personally knew this girl.

  6. jayme says:

    14 years old…She knows plenty of what she is doing.

  7. Babysnakes says:

    Huh? I can’t believe what I am hearing? Get real! She’s 14 years old!!! Of course she has NO IDEA what she’s doing! If this was your daughter would you be holding her liable for a perverts actions? Gross! He’s a grown man that darn well knows better then to mess around with young girls. This is obviously not his first time he taken advantage of a girl. They seem to have proof that there is more. What a jerk. It’s so sad that you can’t trust anyone anymore.

  8. girlstoday says:

    I have a 14 year old daughter. She was raised with good morals and been involved in every aspect of her life. She knows more about sex than I do. She knows how to manipulate people and use her looks to get what she wants. Lucky for me through aggressive counseling and outside help my wife and I got her some help she needs however it does not change what she knows. Those of you thinking that a 14 year old don’t know what’s going on better wake up. The adult in this situation has much more to answer for and more responsibility for any actions that are proved but the 14 year old as well may be just as guilty. However I know neither of the two nor do I know all the facts so I side with no one. My argument is, don’t tell me girls today of that age are all innocent and naive.

  9. Just pointing out the truth says:

    We are only hearing part of this. Anyone who believes a 14 year old now a days doesn’t know whats going on is out of thier mind. Girls grow up alot faster now a days then they did when most of us were growing up. There is a couple young ladies that live by me that are 15 or 16 and look like they are around 22 to 25. I am not saying this girl did anything wrong, and in my mind this guy is a dirt bag because he had to know what age she was because of him being a professional coach. So he gets what he gets plain and simple. But thier are young ladies having babies at 13 and 14 and even a little younger. I have a young lady in my neighborhood thats about 15 throwing herself at anything that walks, but she tries to get with guys in thier mid to upper 20’s. So a girl around that age knows more then what we did 20 to 30 years ago. If this guy is guilty, he should have a peace of his body removed. Then you don’t ever have to wonder about him doing it again.

  10. Nestor Climber says:

    A 14-yr old is a child. 14-yr olds don’t have the decision-making skills of an adult as their brain is still developing. Today’s young teens may know the scientific facts about sex and their appearance may mimic our society’s hyper-sexy norm. But this basic knowledge and ‘adult look’ doesn’t mean kids understand the complex emotions surrounding sex nor that they are ready for a sexual relationship. Even if a 14-yr old child threw him/her self at an adult, the adult should know that this is not appropriate and should work to get the kid help.

    Sex with kids is illegal. Don’t blame the kid, who was taken advantage of by an adult. Sexual violence is never acceptable, and a child’s body is never sexually available by default.

  11. Another climber says:

    I agree with everyone that 14 year old girls are well aware of how to use their sexuality to gain attention. Yet the decisions I made at 14 are not the same ones I would make today at 26. You know why? Because I am exponentially more mature and more equiped to understand the implications of my actions. I know many of the young girls on that team, and let me remind everyone that they are children. I’m sure having this popular guy doting on her was very exciting at first and then the situation snowballed out of control to the point that she made some really bad decisions. But don’t forget that this man is 31 years old, and she should never have been put in a position where those decisions were even on the table! He took advantage of her. Please stop blaming the victim for this.

  12. lala says:

    No one likes a creepy little perv.

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