PLANO — Lyndsey Ryan Cox was known as "Coach Wes" to his students. He was also known to be an incredibly talented gymnast.
He was so talented, many parents trusted him with private lessons after hours.
Kids gravitated toward the charismatic young man.
On Monday, Cox was arrested in Plano facing charges of online solicitation of a minor for sex.
"He was definitely the 'cool' coach. All the boys loved him, and he — in many cases — was unprofessionally close," said a mother of two who asked WFAA to conceal the identities of her and her son.
The woman said last summer she pulled her nine-year-old boy off a team that Cox coached. She said his lack of boundaries with students worried her.
Stories circulated about his behavior with young boys in and outside of the gym, she said.
"He had boys alone a lot, which is unusual in the gymnastics world," the woman said. "It's not a normal thing for coaches to have young boys alone at their apartment. I was hearing stories of that happening, and it made me uncomfortable."
She said other parents raised similar concerns, but with no proof that the popular coach had done anything inappropriate, they were discouraged from reporting him to police.
Eventually, the mom who talked to WFAA said Cox was fired from the gym. Later, she said she learned he had been asked to leave other area gyms after similar suspicions were raised.
Cox was arrested Monday after the Plano Police Department received information Friday from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
According to the arrest warrant, the mother of a 14-year-old boy saw a Facebook message from his former gymnastics coach saying he wanted a picture of the boy in his underwear.
After further investigation, police obtained permission from the boy’s mother to assume his identity online and use his phone to obtain more evidence.
The mother we spoke with was relieved.
"I'm very glad that I followed my gut instinct and kept my kids away from him," she said.
Even so, this mom fears that many other parents did not follow their instincts, and as a result many children may have been a victim of Coach Wes.
We checked with several area gymnastics programs to see if Cox had worked there. Those that responded to our calls and e-mails said they had no record of his employment.
Police are also checking and encouraging possible victims to come forward and report any improper conduct to the department at 972-941-2580.