FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A South Florida volleyball coach is in trouble with the law for allegedly pressuring one of his teenage players for sex and she may not be the only victim.
According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Michael Morales, 38, sent repeated text messages concerning sex to the 15-year-old girl who he trained.
Morales, of Pompano Beach, is listed as the director of Matrix Volleyball Academy on the company’s website. The club is housed in Deerfield Beach.
BSO detectives arrested Morales Monday, March 18th on one count of computer child exploitation. Detectives are concerned that, because of his regular proximity to the teens he coaches, there might be other victims.
According to investigators, Morales began sending volleyball training related texts to the teen in June 2012.
In October, the texts became much more personal.
Investigators said he established a secret code that would be used between him and the victim to confirm that it was her and not one of her parents who was receiving the text messages.
In December, he wrote, “…I almost made u do something to prove to me u were all in…” according to the probable cause affidavit.
She replied, “Please don’t make me do something like that… you said you were kidding. I’ll straighten up I promise I’m just a nervous kid and I get scared and anxious about…”
He wrote back, “So all I need to know now is are u willing to do what we discussed before…” He continued, “…This time I’m not backing off… OK 1st request is I want u to make this fun and pleasurable.”
The affidavit states he also sent a text saying, “Oh make sure your erasing these texts every time young lady.”
In another exchange, the victim texted, “So if I don’t want to do what you want sexually I can’t train? Who else have you done this to?”
The coach replied that it was private and “u have to be in all the way.”
She replied, “We both know this is no longer about volleyball, how does sexual submission and volleyball ever relate.”
Instead of submitting to the pressure of his repeated text messages, the girl contacted law enforcement about her coach’s demands. Investigators say the teen reported Morales to BSO.
“He seemed to have no fear,” BSO Spokesperson Dani Moschella told CBS 4’s Carey Codd. “He seemed to trying to talk her into something. Luckily it didn’t work.”
Moschella said the teen even told Morales in her texts to quit his behavior.
“She said my consent isn’t even legal,” BSO Spokesperson Dani Moschella explained. “(She said) You could get in trouble. We should stop. (Morales) ignored that warning. He said, ‘What trouble this is a private matter.'”
But at Matrix practice on Tuesday in Deerfield Beach former players and parents told a different story.
“Mike, as with all people in America are innocent until proven otherwise,” said Vicky Keating, parent liaison with the Matrix teams.
Others said they spent a lot of time with Morales and never experienced anything untoward.
“I don’t believe it all,” said Sydney Torres. “He’s a nice guy. I’ve been training with him for 2 years and I’ve never seen these tendencies from him.”
Morales sent a brief text Tuesday to CBS 4 reporter Carey Codd. Morales said to contact his attorney.
Attorney Mike Zee says Morales did nothing wrong and cooperated with investigators, turning himself to detectives on Monday before bonding out.
Zee said Morales can still continue to coach if he chooses.
Anyone who thinks they may have been a victim of Michael Morales is asked to contact the Internet Crimes Against Children task force at (954) 888-5242.