Rock-climbing coach arrested in sex case involving minor

Daniel L. Montague, an Earth Treks instructor, charged with performing sex acts; second climbing coach to be arrested

July 12, 2011|By Nick Madigan, The Baltimore Sun

Only days after the arrest on sexual-assault charges of a climbing coach at Earth Treks, a second instructor for the company has been charged with performing sex acts with a minor. In both instances, the girls had been learning rock-climbing skills, police in Howard County said.

The most recent arrest is that of Daniel Lloyd Montague, a 20-year-old assistant climbing coach at the company's facility in Columbia, who was charged Thursday with four fourth-degree sex offenses. Montague, who lives on Pindell School Road in Fulton, is no longer employed at Earth Treks, which describes itself online as offering "the best rock climbing in the greater Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland region."

Court documents indicate that Montague spent a night in confinement and was released in lieu of $25,000 bail, posted by his father. A trial date was set for Sept. 15.

Montague's arrest followed that of Michael J. Lyons, a 31-year-old coach who worked at three Earth Treks climbing facilities around Baltimore and Washington. He was detained June 27 at the Timonium Earth Treks and charged with 12 counts in connection with acts police say he performed with a 14-year-old girl at the company's Columbia location between April and June.

Lyons, who lives on Brice Road in Rockville, was being held at the Howard County Detention Center, and court records do not indicate that he was released. A preliminary court hearing was scheduled for July 29.

Attempts to reach Chris Warner, Earth Trek's chief executive, were unsuccessful Monday. Chris Jenkins, its chief operating officer, referred questions to authorities. Police did not disclose Montague's arrest, and The Baltimore Sun became aware of it when an e-mail, written by Jenkins to the company's staff, was forwarded to the newspaper.

"I have a difficult update," Jenkins wrote. He described Montague's arrest on "charges related to an inappropriate relationship with a minor," and said that in the days leading to the arrest, police had "requested that we remain silent to avoid compromising their ongoing investigation."

Now that Montague has been charged, Jenkins said, company officials would "begin the process of notifying the parents and guardians of members of the climbing team." He wrote that there was a "very productive — and emotional — meeting the other night in Columbia" with parents and pupils regarding the Lyons case and that a second such meeting would take place in Rockville in the next few days.

Court documents in Montague's case — which misspell his name as Montaque — say that police were contacted June 24 by the girl's mother, who reported that her daughter, a member of a competitive team, "had been sexually assaulted by a climbing instructor." The girl's parents identified him as Montague and said he had been her instructor since she joined the program in April 2010.

"He was aware of how old she was," the document says, although references to her age were blacked out. Montague and the girl, who was interviewed by the police, "began to have a sexual relationship" in March this year, and met on four occasions at her home "when her mother was away for a few hours."

According to the police account, the girl and Montague knew that "what they were doing was wrong."

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