Crossfit trainer arrested, had sexual relationship with a minor: police

The victim's mother spoke exclusively to First Coast News about the warning signs parents should look out for.

A Crossfit trainer was arrested for having a sexual relationship with a minor under 16 years old, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

JSO was notified about the relationship on Aug. 16. Paul Matthew Villarreal, 34, had been engaging in sexual activity with the minor since he was 31, according to police reports.

The victim told police that the relationship became sexual when they started kissing and touching each other inappropriately. The victim said the first time they had sex was June 2015, according to police reports.

The victim's family, who asked not to be identified, told First Coast News the victim would have been 15 years old in 2015.

Villarreal was arrested and charged with lewd/lascivious battery - engage in sexual activity with a person 12 or older but less than 16 years. As of Wednesday, he is awaiting a bond hearing.

The victim's mother said her daughter was 11 when Villarreal began coaching her at his Jacksonville Beach gym, Crossfit Sovereignty.

"He seemed very genuine and there was no reason not to trust him," the victim's mother said. "He's served in the military, he had a wife and two kids, he seemed to have our kid's best interest at heart."

She said they never suspected what was happening during the times her child was alone with her trainer. 

She hopes other families will see their story as a wake up call. 

"We trusted our daughter, [parents should] just be aware of the messaging and who they are texting," she said. 

According to state business records, Villarreal has owned several gym-related business in the Jacksonville area over the past few years.

The victim's family say they hope to see him prosecuted, though their daughter who just turned 18, doesn't feel the same.

"[The hardest part] is explaining to her that this was not her fault, that she was a victim," the victim's mother said. "But right now she, she loves the guy. This is all she's known. What he did to our daughter can't be taken back." 

Villarreal's pre-trial date is set for Thursday, Aug. 31 at 9 a.m.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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