Duly Noted

 West Michigan track coach assistant charged with soliciting sex from student athletes

Attorney General Bill Schuette has announced nine felony charges against a West Michigan junior high school assistant track coach for allegedly using his position of authority to solicit sex from students. Schuette charged Tyler Groenwald, 20, of Bear Lake, with four counts of Accosting Children for Immoral Purposes, a four-year felony; four counts of Using a Computer to Commit a Crime, a seven-year felony; and one count of Distribution/

Promotion Of Child Sexually Abusive Materials, a seven-year felony.
“It is a priority to protect the victims of child sexual abuse,” said Schuette. “We will continue to aggressively seek justice for crime victims and prosecute sexual predators wherever we may find them.”

At the time of the offenses, Groenwald served as a track coach for Onekama Middle School. He volunteered with the Bear Lake cross country team as well. Groenwald worked as a paid at-will employee in his role as track coach with Onekama.

In 2013, Manistee County Police received a complaint from a former student athlete coached by Groenwald. The student alleged Groenwald attempted to solicit sex from him and requested nude pictures via text messages.
A joint investigation by the Attorney General, Michigan State Police, and Manistee County Police Department revealed that Groenwald had “sexted” several other students, some he coached and some he met through their older siblings.
 It appears that this predatory conduct had been allegedly occurring for more than a year.  Groenwald’s multiple victims include juveniles hailing from three Manistee County-area high schools.

“It took tremendous courage for the students to come forward and we applaud them for potentially preventing additional children from becoming victims,” Schuette said.
Groenwald was dismissed as a paid employee after Onekama Schools learned he was being investigated on criminal charges. The schools allege the criminal conduct did not occur on school time nor on school premises during  Groenwald’s employment or volunteer duties.

Groenwald surrendered to authorities on Feb. 28 and was charged by Schuette in Manistee’s 85th District Court:

Groenwald was released on a $25,000 10% surety bond. Groenwald is next due in court on March 19 before Judge Thomas N. Brunner.

Additional students who had contact with Groenwald of a sexual nature, including through text messages or social media, are encouraged to contact the Dept. of Attorney General for assistance at 313-456-0180. 

A criminal charge is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.