Maryland Man Pleads Guilty to Sex Crime, with tie to Massachusetts

A climbing coach at Earth Treks in Columbia, Maryland has pleaded guilty to having sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl, and another instructor at the facility is expected to enter a plea next week in a similar case.

Michael J. Lyons, a 31-year-old from Rockville who was the head coach of Earth Treks’ competitive climbing team, pleaded guilty Wednesday, Nov. 30, in Howard County Circuit Court to one count of sexual abuse of a minor, as reported by the Baltimore Sun. The charge comes because he had temporary care, responsibility or supervision over the girl due to his role as her coach.

Prosecutors recommended Lyons be sentenced to 15 years in prison with all but eight years of that sentence suspended. Upon his release, he would be on probation for five years, could not have any contact with the victim, would have to register as a sex offender and would not be allowed to have any unsupervised contact with minors.

Meanwhile, Daniel Lloyd Montague, a 20-year-old from Fulton who was also a climbing coach at Earth Treks, has entered a plea agreement and is expected to appear in court on Dec. 6.

Lyons and Montague had gone through criminal background checks before being hired at the Earth Treks climbing gyms, according to owner Chris Warner. But within a two-week period this summer, each was arrested for allegedly having sexual contact with a girl on the company’s competitive climbing team.

The victim in both cases is the same girl, who has since turned 15, according to court documents. The Columbia Flier does not identify victims of sex crimes.

Lyons was arrested in June at the company’s Timonium location. He had also been charged with three counts of third-degree sex offenses and one count of sexual solicitation of a minor. He is being held at the Howard County Detention Center in Jessup.

Lyons was accused of having sexual contact between April and June 2011 with the girl, including having sexual intercourse with her in a closet at the Columbia gym during a team sleepover. Prosecutors said Wednesday he also had intercourse with the girl on a team trip to Massachusetts. Lyons admitted to having sex with her when police had the girl call him and say she was pregnant, even though she was not, according to prosecutors.

Lyons, who was also a coach for the U.S. national climbing team, had trained other coaches on proper relationships between coaches and athletes, Warner said.

Montague was arrested in July. He is facing four counts of committing an unnatural or perverted practice and four counts of fourth-degree sex offenses. He is out on bail.

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