Michael Morales, a Deerfield Beach, Florida volleyball academy director, was arrested Monday after he allegedly sent a series of sexually provocative messages to one of his 15-year-old pupils, news sources report. Morales, 38, was booked into the Broward County Main Jail on one charge of using a computer to exploit a child. His has since been released on a $1,000 bail bond. Thus far, no defense lawyer as spoken up on Morales’s behalf.
Reports say Morales is the director of the Matrix Volleyball Academy, which is located near Powerline Road in Deerfield Beach. The academy offers its students both indoor and outdoor volleyball-training sessions and accepts students 8 years old and up. So far, the facility and its staff have decided to remain silent about the allegations against Morales. Morales has also declined to comment.
A spokesperson for Indoor Sports Complex, which rents a facility out to Matrix Volleyball Academy, said, “We take this [arrest] very seriously. We’re not sure right now what is going to happen.” The spokesperson said the company is determining whether they will allow the academy to continue renting the facility.
A spokesperson for the Broward County Sheriff’s Office also released a statement regarding the arrest. “Detectives are concerned that, because of [Morales’] regular proximity to the teens he coaches, there might be other victims,” the spokesperson said. Law enforcement officials have asked other victims to come forward and cooperate with the investigation.
According to reports, Morales began texting the victim in June, after she signed up for lessons at the Matrix Volleyball Academy. At first, the messages were strictly about the volleyball, sources say. However, several months later, Morales allegedly sent the girl a string of sexually explicit messages. “I almost made you do something to prove to me you were all in,” Morales said to the girl via text messaging, allegedly implying something sexual in nature.
“Please don’t make me do something like that.” The girl replied, “You said you were kidding. I’ll straighten up I promise I’m just a nervous kid and I get scared and anxious.”
The girl later asked if her refusal to do something sexual with Morales would affect her position at the academy. “So if I don’t do what you want sexually I can’t train?” She asked, adding, “Who else have you done this to?”
“That’s private and you have to be in all the way,” Morales reportedly said. Following that conversation, Morales allegedly warned the girl to delete the conversation between him and the victim from her phone. In return, the victim sent a warning message to Morales. “Separate the fact I’m 15 and this started because of my fear of getting into college…When you ask me to do sexual things, no. I’m scared. Having me drop standards to go far is not something I can put trust in,” she said to him through a text message, later adding, “My consent isn’t even legal you could get into a lot of trouble, let’s just stop.”
The victim reported Morales sometime later when Morales refused to stop sending the messages. “There was a voice of reason coming from a 15-year-old,” a police spokesperson said of the situation, “and [Morales] ignored her.”
Sources: 3.18.13 Morales Child Explotation.pdf.