Carrying a teddy bear, box of chocolates and a card intended for a teenage girl, a 38-year-old swim coach from Henrietta (N.Y.) was arrested on federal enticement charges.
Matthew Lincoln was charged with enticement of a minor Thursday and has been arraigned in federal court.
His arrest was announced during a news conference by U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr., along with representatives from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York State Police, Rochester Police Department and the Brighton Police Department.
Kennedy said Lincoln was arrested at Jay’s Diner in Brighton, where he had thought he was meeting with a 16-year-old girl.
Police said they were alerted to Lincoln’s behavior just after Christmas when the father of an 11-year-old girl told Brighton police that he was sending inappropriate messages to the child. Police would not say how Lincoln knew the child nor provide any details about their conversations.
Court documents allege that Lincoln and a police officer posing as a 16-year-old girl had explicit conversations, that he sent nude photos of himself, requested photos of the girl and asked about her underwear. He also allegedly suggested they meet.
It appeared that the two were talking via text for 15 days after Lincoln received a message from the officer posing as a teenager.
Court documents allege that Lincoln admitted to texting with the teen, sending photos and buying Valentine’s gifts at Walmart for the girl, which he brought to the diner.
“Protecting our children is of utmost importance,” Kennedy said.
Police believe Lincoln, head coach and program director of the Golden Comets Swim Club, a private swim club in Henrietta, may have had inappropriate contact with other children. Brighton Police Chief Mark Henderson said he spoke with club officials on Friday and they told police that Lincoln was fired.
According to a bio of Lincoln posted to the Golden Comets webpage, Lincoln is a 1999 graduate of the Rush-Henrietta Central School District and has been a swim coach since 2000.
He previously coached the 2000-01 season with the Golden Comets, heading the 12 and under age groups, and previously was a coach for the Sea Dragons Swim Club in Penfield, Niagara Swimming, Gananda Racing Aquatic Team and the Newark Wahoos. He was also head coach of the boys’ varsity swim team in Newark, Wayne County.
He returned to the Golden Comets in September 2014. He also previously worked part time for the town of Henrietta’s recreation department, ending in September, Henderson said.
Henrietta Town Supervisor Stephen Schultz said Lincoln had been on the town payroll when he scheduled activities, provided instruction and staff training as pool site supervisor for the Golden Comets team. In September, the Golden Comets board took over those responsibilities and Lincoln was dropped from the town payroll.
“First, our heartfelt sympathies go out to the victims and the victims’ families,” Schultz said in a written statement. “The town takes the protection of children very seriously and performs a background check on prospective employees in the Recreation Department or any job that involves working with children. The Town has and will continue to fully cooperate with the various law enforcement agencies involved.”
Authorities said they do not know whether Lincoln had similar contact with other youngsters. Kennedy and Henderson urged any parents who believe their children had inappropriate contact with Lincoln to call 911. Parents who need assistance in discussing the situation with their children can call Bivona Child Advocacy Center at (585) 935-7800.
“Crimes against children who have no voice, they have to rely on adults to stand up for them,” said Kevin Lyons, FBI special agent in charge who is temporarily assigned to the Buffalo office.
Kennedy commended the 11-year-old and her family for taking action.
“They recognized that something wasn’t right and called police and did something about it,” Kennedy said.
Lincoln is scheduled to return to federal court on Wednesday for a detention hearing.