Authorities in California have released new details about the investigation that led to the arrest of show jumper Alec Lawler on Jan. 5 at the Desert International Horse Park. Lawler faces 11 felony charges related to allegedly soliciting a juvenileÂ student.
During the investigation, detectives learned that Lawler allegedly sent sexual photographs to theÂ student, according to San Mateo County Sheriffâ€™s Department Sgt.Â Jerri Cosens. Investigators also discovered that Lawler allegedly requested and received sexual photographs from the juvenile and contacted them with the intent to engage in sexual acts. The alleged victim’sÂ age was not released by authorities.
Lawler, 30, of Atherton, California, was arrested on the second day of the Desert Circuit I show. He faces sevenÂ felony charges of sending harmful matter with intent to seduce a minor, two felony charges of contacting a minor for sexual purposes, and two felony charges of possessing child pornography. He wasÂ released from jail after posting $140,000 bail and is awaiting an arraignment date, which has not yet been set.
â€śDue to Lawler working closely as a coach with many juveniles, detectives are concerned there are potentially more victims,â€ť Cosens wrote in a press release.
The U.S. Equestrian Federation listed Lawler as ineligible to compete on Jan. 6, andÂ the U.S. Center for SafeSport issued a temporary suspension for â€śallegations of misconductâ€ť on Jan. 11.
Lawler lives and works in San Mateo County, the county thatÂ issued his arrest warrant.
Following his arrest, Susie Schroer, of Meadow Grove Farm, one of the facilities Lawler was associated with, posted a statement on social media.
â€śAll of us at MeadowGrove were deeply troubled when we learned of the news of the allegations made against Alec Lawler and his subsequent arrest and we are taking this very seriously. We have reminded all our employees and athletes to revisit their safe sport training. All necessary actions have been taken to completely disassociate MeadowGrove from Alec Lawler moving forward,â€ť she wrote. â€śWe greatly value our clients and have always been and will remain committed to maintaining a program that is free from any types of inappropriate behavior or misconduct. Â We remain steadfast in the protection of our students and doing everything we can to support our MeadowGrove family and the greater equine community.â€ť
The sevenÂ felony charges for sending harmful matter with intent to seduce a minor each carry a potential sentence of three to five years in state prison. If convicted, LawlerÂ would have a lifetime duty toÂ register as a sex offender. Under California law, a prosecutor can decide whether to bring the charges as misdemeanors or felonies, based on the nature of the allegations.
The charges stem from five incidents that allegedlyÂ occurred between May and September 2022, according to court records.
Police are asking anyone with information about this case to please contact Detective C. BarkerÂ atÂ 650-474-1243 or CBarker@smcgov.org or use the anonymous tip line at 1-800-547-2700.