A Colorado youth hockey coach has admitted having online chats where he asked young male teen players to send him nude photos and challenged them to ‘masturbation races’ on Facebook.
Police failed to see this as merely an effort to foster competitiveness.
Zachary Meints, 24, was arrested in response to police allegations that Meints had inappropriate online communication with boys as young as 13 when Meints was an assistant coach with the Boulder Hockey Club.
He later moved to the Rocky Mountain RoughRiders youth hockey club where the conduct continued.
According to a Boulder affidavit, police first became aware of Meints after a fellow RoughRiders coach reported to the FBI that he overheard Meints having inappropriate phone chats with young hockey players who weren’t on his team.
When Meints colleague asked one of the boys about Meints, the boy reportedly said that Meints would call or text him to talk about hockey, but then shift the conversation to sexual innuendo and ask the boy to send him naked photos of himself on Facebook.
Investigators who questioned the boy learned that Meints requests to the boy came just weeks after the boy’s mother had died.
The boy told investigators that the coach texted him with questions about masturbation and about the size of his penis.
Meints also asked the boy to send him a photo of his penis. The boy told investigators that he did send Meints a photo of himself posing naked.
According to the affidavit, investigators began contacting other hockey-playing boys and their parents and got similar accounts.
When interviewed, Meints wrote off the interactions as “locker room talk,” adding that he had asked players how often they masturbated as part of this.
He also told investigators he had sent a couple messages asking a player about the size of his penis.
He also reportedly explained that he had challenged players on two occasions to a masturbation race while communicating with them on Facebook – again…. “locker room talk.”
Meints was subsequently arrested.
Police said they have interviewed 13 potential victims/witnesses and five of those victims were under the age of 15 at the time of the alleged exploitation.
Meints is charged with five felony counts of internet sexual exploitation of a child and is currently free on $35,000 bond.