A former middle school track coach in Manistee County has been charged with using his position to solicit sex from students.
According to Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, Tyler Groenwald, 20, of Bear Lake, was charged with accosting children for immoral purposes, using a computer to commit a crime and distribution of child sexually abusive materials.
Groenwald served as a track coach at Onekama Middle School as well as volunteered with the Bear Lake Cross Country team at the time of the crimes, the Attorney General's Office reports.
The investigation started in 2013, when a former student athlete coached by Groenwald told authorities the coach had attempted to solicit sex from him and had requested nude photos by text message.
An investigation by the Attorney General's Office as well as Michigan State Police and Manistee County showed that Groenwald had "sexted" several other students over the course of more than a year.
The victims came from three different 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.
The Attorney General's Office reports Groenwald was dismissed as a paid employee after Onekama Schools learned he was being investigated on criminal charges. School officials claim the crimes did not occur on school time or on school property.
Groenwald turned himself in and was charged Friday in Manistee District Court. He was released on a $25,000 bond and is scheduled to be in court next on March 19.
"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."
Other students who had contact with Groenwald of a sexual nature are encouraged to contact the Attorney General's Office at 313-456-0180.