Ocala, Florida-based jumper trainer Jerry Aguilar is facing felony charges for allegedly soliciting a 13-year-old student for sex over text messages. He was arrested Sept. 22 and was given an interim suspension by the U.S. Center for Safe Sport and the U.S. Equestrian Federation on Friday, Oct. 6.
Aguilar was arrested after the teen’s mother found inappropriate text messages from him on her child’s phone and went to the Ocala Police Department with her concerns.
With the mother and daughter’s permission, a detective examined the phone and discovered text messages “with evidence suggesting he was grooming the child to be comfortable with him,” according to a statement from the department.
The detective then used the phone to pose as the 13-year-old and communicate with Aguilar.
“During this exchange, Aguilar made multiple sexual references, sent sexually explicit content, and solicited the child victim to engage in sexual conduct, leading to his arrest,” police said.
Aguilar has been charged with three counts of using a computer to solicit a child and 10 counts of sending harmful material to a minor. He is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 24.
“We take crimes against children very seriously,” police said in the statement. “Mr. Aguilar is a horse trainer and coach with children under his supervision, so we urge any potential victims to come forward. These dangerous crimes against children are widespread and can happen to anyone. Aguilar had positioned himself as a close friend to the family, who were all dismayed upon discovering his inappropriate behavior.”
Police thanked the mother for being vigilant about her child’s phone activities and coming to police with her concerns. For tips to help keep children safe online, visit the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force page.