Reporting Derek Valcourt
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.