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Ray Villeda, NBC 5 News
Parents say they're shocked after well-known gymnastics coach Lyndsey "Wes" Cox was arrested and charged with soliciting a minor. He was arrested in a mall parking lot where police say he expected to meet with a 14-year-old former student.
A gymnastics coach with ties to gyms across North Texas is accused of trying to lure a 14-year-old former student through social media.
Lyndsey Ryan Cox, 26, of Hurst, is charged with online solicitation of a minor for sex.
According to court documents, the investigation began Friday when the teen's parent "reported she had seen an inappropriate Facebook message on her 14-year-old son's Facebook from his ex-gymnastics coach."
Police interviewed the teenager. According to an affidavit, the boy told police he began communicating with Cox via text message before turning to Facetime, a video call service.
"He stated Coach Cox would tell him sexual things he had done with his partners," the affidavit said.
The teenager also told investigators his former coach professed his love for him and allegedly exposed himself to the teen during online chats. While the teen refused to do the same, he told investigators that he knew of another underage male student who sent Cox a nude photo of himself.
Police took over the teen's social media accounts and began communicating with Cox, documents say.
"During the conversations, the suspect stated that he loved the victim and wanted to be with him," the affidavit states.
Police said Cox set up a meeting with whom he believed was the 14-year-old for Monday afternoon at the Collin Creek Mall. Officers arrested Cox at the mall.
Investigators said Cox had made a hotel reservation at a nearby La Quinta Inn. According to court documents, Cox said the room would "give us more time to play."
"You always worry about leaving your children in hands of someone who you trust," Plano police spokesman officer David Tilley said.
Police said there are potentially more victims and are asking parents to talk with their children.
"I'm sure even if he's been working only for just a short period of time, he would come across hundreds of children because gymnastics facilities are really crowded and really popular, and that's something that concerns us," Tilley said.
Plano police are asking anyone with more information on the case to call them or your local police department.
Meanwhile, Wednesday morning, gym owners worried that Cox may have preyed on their students began reaching out to police.
One McKinney gym, that didn’t want to be identified, called police to report that Cox used the facility for private lessons for a few weeks. They’re proactively reaching out to alert parents.
A gym in Allen that also didn’t want to be identified said Cox coached there three years ago. Instructors there talked with students Tuesday night about the coach’s arrest, but no one spoke up with concerns.
“You always worry about who is my kid talking to,” said Julie Larios, whose child is in gymnastics.
Larios said when she drops her daughter off for class in McKinney, she has to trust that her daughter is in good hands. The concerned mom said she also keeps communication open with her daughter and the coach to make sure the relationship is professional and remains at the gym.
“You’re going to have your own sense, is something wrong here? Is there more interest than needs to be,” said Larios.
Cox declined a request from NBC 5 to talk to him while he is in jail.
NBC 5's Eric King contributed to this report.