HOWARD COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — There’s a growing scandal at a popular chain of rock climbing schools. Another coach is under arrest, charged with sex offenses against a minor.
Derek Valcourt has been following the ongoing investigation at Earth Treks.
It’s the second arrest of a coach at Earth Treks in less than two weeks. This time, it’s an assistant coach who faces four sex offense charges.
Climbing coach Michael Lyons was arrested in late June after police say he confessed to having an ongoing sexual relationship with a 14-year-old female student at an Earth Treks in Columbia. Now court documents reveal another Earth Treks coach, Daniel Montague, also had an ongoing sexual relationship with an underage girl he had been coaching.
It’s upsetting news to many Earth Treks climbers.
“Seems like a definite betrayal of trust,” said one.
In the recent case, police say the assaults did not occur at Earth Treks facilities. Instead, the young victim and her friend made a list of the sexual acts Montague and the young girl allegedly engaged in at the victim’s house while her mother was away for a few hours.
For their part, Earth Treks managers refused to do an on camera interview to talk about either of the coaches they have since fired. Instead, they issued a written statement.
“We have been aware for several days that these criminal charges were coming, but Howard County Police requested that we remain silent to avoid compromising their ongoing investigation. With the criminal charges now filed, we have begun the process of notifying the parents and guardians of members of the climbing team.”
Outside of the Columbia facility Tuesday, parents who take their kids to Earth Treks were shocked by the news.
“It makes you worry, but you just gotta keep an eye on your kids,” said parent Chris Teal. “Be a parent. Be responsible. That’s what it’s all about.”
Many of the climbing team parents are so upset by the news that Earth Treks has already held one informational meeting to discuss the case. Another meeting with team parents is planned for Thursday night in Rockville.
Howard County Police would not talk about Montague’s arrest, citing their ongoing investigation.