D.A.: Swim coach tried to buy sex

May 20, 2008 6:01:42 PM PDT
A head swimming coach at a Montgomery County high school has been arrested and charged with offering a student money for sex, in effect, trying to turn a 15 year old member of the team into a prostitute. Michael Dolan kept his head covered as he walked out of the Whitemarsh Township police department after being fingerprinted. The 29 year old from Ambler was the head swim coach at Plymouth-Whitemarsh High from November of last year until March. Police say his victim was a 15-year old freshman on the team he coached. They allege that in April he started sending the girl unsolicited, sexually explicit text messages in the middle of the night.

"The text messages were extremely sexual and provocative. They were requests that she engage in sex acts in exchange for money," said Montgomery County district attorney Risa Vetri Ferman.

Prosecutors say Dolan suggested the girl meet him at Miles Park less than a mile from the high school. Court documents indicate one text message said, "I will meet you at Miles Park with 200 bucks if you will." And later, another text: "I am at Miles right now in a green shirt."

"His role was to teach young athletes and young swimmers how to make it to the finish line first and instead of doing that he tried to lure a young girl into the fast lane all for his own gratification," said Ferman.

The teenager told her parents about the alarming texts and they went to police who say Dolan admitted he sent the explicit phone messages. In a statement Dr. Vincent Cotter the superintendent of the Colonial School District said: "We are shocked and disappointed that Mr. Dolan is implicated with such behavior. Mr. Dolan is not a teacher and during the few months that he was a coach we had no issues with and received no complaints about his conduct. Mr. Dolan came to us highly recommended."

Officials say Dolan did undergo an extensive background check before he was hired by the high school. He has coached at several area swim clubs, including Abington and Norristown, so officials are concerned that there could be other victims.