Atherton equestrian trainer arrested for alleged sex crimes against student | January 20, 2023 | Almanac | Almanac Online |

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News - January 20, 2023

Atherton equestrian trainer arrested for alleged sex crimes against student

Trainer Alec Lawler worked with minors in Portola Valley and elsewhere, police say

by Sue Dremann

An equestrian coach who worked with minors in Portola Valley and other locations throughout San Mateo County has been arrested for allegedly intending to seduce a minor for sex and other related charges, the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office said on Tuesday, Jan. 17.

Alec Lawler, 30, of Atherton, was arrested on a warrant in Riverside with the help of the Riverside County Sheriff's Office on Jan. 5 following an investigation that spanned several months.

He was taken into custody at the Desert International Horse Park in Thermal, California, according to the website horsenetwork.com.

Lawler, who previously studied earth systems, graduated from Stanford University in 2014.

Detectives discovered that Lawler allegedly sent sexual photographs to one of his juvenile equestrian students. He also allegedly requested and received sexual photographs from the student and contacted the student with intent to engage in sexual acts. The alleged incidents occurred between May and September 2022, according to the court records.

He has been charged with 11 felony counts: five for distributing harmful matter with the intent to seduce; two for contact with a minor for sex; and two counts of distribution or possession of obscene matter, according to San Mateo County Superior Court records.

Lawler posted $140,000 bail and is currently out of custody.

"Due to Lawler working closely as a coach with many juveniles, detectives are concerned there are potentially more victims," the Sheriff's Office said. Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Det. C. Barker at 650-474-1243 or [email protected] Anonymous tips can be sent to 1-800-547-2700.

Email Staff Writer Sue Dremann at [email protected]

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