A South Florida club volleyball coach was arrested after he tried to pressure one of his teen players into having sex with him, the Broward Sheriff's Office said Tuesday.
Michael Walter Morales, 38, was arrested Monday on one count of computer child exploitation after he sent the 15-year-old girl repeated text messages, the BSO said.
The incident dates back to June 2012 when Morales, the director of Matrix Volleyball Academy in Deerfield Beach, began sending volleyball-related texts to the girl, the BSO said.
In October, the texts became personal, with Morales asking the girl what she'd like to try sexually and telling her it should be "fun and pleasurable" before reminding her to erase the texts, the BSO said.
In one exchange, the girl asked "So if I don’t want to do what you want sexually I can’t train? Who else have you done this to?" the BSO said.
Morales replied that it was private and told her "u have to be in all the way," the BSO said.
Rather than submit to the coach's pressure, the girl contacted authorities.
"She is a pretty savvy 15-year-old, and kudos to her for realizing that something wasn't right – she confronted him about it via text message, then distanced herself and then reported it to law enforcement, which is the right thing to do," BSO spokeswoman Dani Moschella said.
Morales didn't return calls for comment Tuesday, and no one came to the door when NBC 6 went to his home in Pompano Beach. His attorney Marc Zee said, however, that Morales denies the allegations and plans to enter a not guilty plea. He has been released after posting bond.
Meantime, the owner of the Deerfield Sports Complex released a statement on Morales' arrest.
"The incident is under investigation, and as we are a facility that only rents court time to Matrix (Volleyball Academy) and has no direct affiliation to the club, we are referring all further questions to club officials," the owner said.
Parents of current and former students came to Morales' defense Tuesday. A fellow coach and friend, Mike Cabeza, said Morales is a "great person."
One of Morales’ former students said she texts with her coaches all the time, but said they have never crossed the line.
"I've done privates with him, one on one. Never have ever I felt uncomfortable with him or have any kind of weird feelings," Sydney Torres said.
Authorities said they believe there may be other victims and are anyone who things they may be a victim of Morales to call the Internet Crimes Against Children task force at 954-888-5242.