Plano gym coach arrested on child sex charge

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by JOSH DAVIS and JOBIN PANICKER / WFAA

WFAA

Posted on July 17, 2013 at 11:29 AM

PLANO, Texas — Police arrested a 26-year-old youth gymnastics coach Monday for online solicitation of a minor.

Lyndsey Ryan "Wes" Cox was arrested at 2:20 p.m. Monday after the Plano Police Department received information on Friday from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

According to the arrest warrant, the mother of a 14-year-old boy saw a Facebook message from his former gymnastics coach saying he wanted a picture of the boy in his underwear.

"She became alerted as a result of a social media message," said Plano police spokesman David Tilley.

The parent reported the message to the NCMEC, and it was passed on to Sgt. Chris Meehan with the Collin County Sheriff's Office.

Meehan contacted the mother and had the boy come to the Children's Advocacy Center to meet with a forensic interviewer.

"We felt there was going to be a potential for something to take place pretty quick, so we felt the urgency to get in and do something immediately on it," Tilley said.

During the interview, the victim said he had begun communicating with his former coach via text message before last weekend, then that led to video chatting on FaceTime, the document says.

The boy said Cox told him sexual things, showed him his penis, and began masturbating.

The boy told the interviewer Cox asked him to send him a picture of his penis, but he sent him a picture of his buttocks, according to the warrant. He also stated he knew another male minor student who had sent the coach a nude picture.

Sgt. Meehan and Plano Det. Jeff Rich obtained permission from the victim and his mother to assume the boy's online identity and use his phone.

Using Oovoo, an app for texting and video chatting, the warrant says Meehan talked to Cox while pretending to be the boy. The suspect said he loved the boy and wanted to be with him, according to the warrant.

Meehan suggested the suspect meet the boy at a movie, but the next day, Cox said he could get a hotel room, saying "it would give us more room to play."

Meehan, still pretending to be the victim, agreed to meeting at Collin Creek Mall on Monday at 2 p.m., then go to a nearby La Quinta Inn hotel. Cox said the boy should tell his mother he was going to the mall and a movie with friends, and Cox said they would run by the theater to get a ticket stub to show his mother.

According to a search warrant, undercover officers confirmed Cox had rented a room at the hotel, and at 1:30 p.m. investigators observed a Honda Element registered to the suspect's father pull in to the hotel before Cox checked in. Surveillance observed Cox go to his room with a duffel bag, which was later found to contain lubricant, a pillow, and underwear for a boy.

According to the warrants, Cox then went back to his vehicle, which they followed to Collin Creek Mall. Officers arrested Cox in the parking lot of the mall for online solicitation of a minor for sex.

Cox, a resident of Hurst, has worked at several gymnastics centers in various cities around North Texas along with providing private lessons to children.

"We're not sure where all he's worked," Tilley added.

Investigators are urging parents of gymnastics students who were involved with the instructor to speak with their children about their contact and report any improper conduct to the department at 972-941-2580.

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