CRIME

Michael Lyons, rock climbing coach, charged with sexual offenses

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A Rockville rock-climbing coach has been charged with multiple sexual offenses after he was accused of assaulting a 14-year-old female student, police say.

Howard County Police charged 31-year-old Michael J. Lyons with sexual abuse of a minor, sexual solicitation of a minor, multiple sex offenses and second-degree assault.

The 14-year old-female victim, who is a member of the competitive climbing team at Earth Treks in Columbia, Md., reported that head coach Lyons had engaged in a number of sexual acts with her for the past two months, police allege. According to court documents, the most recent sexual act occurred in the facility two weekends ago, during a team sleep over.

Laurel Pochop says her daughters have been going to Earth Treks here in Columbia Maryland for years. The news of one of its popular instructors being arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a student has left them uneasy.

"Can't believe, I've taken two classes... I love all of them,” said Corinne Sauer, another customer at Earth Treks.

In an on-line video interview from last April, Lyons tells the young reporter about a post-tournament party for his youth team inside the center. When ABC7 went to Lyon’s Rockville home of the 1000 block of Brice Road Wednesday night, a young woman asked us to leave.

Lyons is being held on $100,000 bond at the Howard County Detention Center. He's an instructor at multiple Earth Treks locations in Maryland, as well as for the U.S. National Climbing Team.

In a statement on its website, Earth Treks says it has terminated Lyons as an employee and is fully cooperating with the investigation.

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