Climbing coach charged with sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl

Michael J. Lyons of Rockville employed at Earth Treks in Columbia, Timonium and Rockville

June 29, 2011|By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun

A 31-year-old rock-climbing coach who worked at three Earth Treks climbing facilities around Baltimore and Washington has been charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in Columbia, Howard County police said.

Michael J. Lyons of Brice Road in Rockville was arrested Monday at the Timonium Earth Treks after police accused him of engaging in sex acts with one of his athletes between April and June at the Columbia location.

According to a statement from Earth Treks, Howard County police visited all three rock-climbing facilities on Monday, and the company has since fired Lyons. The company's third location is in Rockville.

"At Earth Treks, our top priority is providing a safe environment for all members of our community. We are doing everything we can to work with the police and ensure that we follow through on that commitment," the statement said. Chris Jenkins, chief operating officer at Earth Treks, would not comment further or say how long Lyons had been an employee.

Lyons had been in charge of five climbing teams for ages 6-9 and 9-18, according to the Earth Trek's website.

Police said his Facebook page also listed him as an instructor for the U.S. National Climbing Team and USA Climbing, which is described as the national governing body for competitive climbing, according to USA Climbing's website.

Lyons is facing charges of sex abuse of a minor, sexual solicitation of a minor, multiple sex offenses and second-degree assault. He is being held at the Howard County Detention Center in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Police are investigating whether there are other victims and are asking anyone with information to call 410-313-3200.

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