A former Rochester high school tennis coach was arrested in Wisconsin in June as part of an undercover internet child enticement investigation.
Kevin J. Rust, 59, of Minnetonka, is facing charges of use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, child enticement and attempt sexual assault of a child younger than 16 years of age. An arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 26 in Barron County Circuit Court in Wisconsin.
Rust, who coached boys and girls tennis at Lourdes for nearly three decades in the 1980s, ’90s and 2000s, was arrested June 28 in Rice Lake, Wis., in the parking lot of an apartment complex. Rust was allegedly there to meet a 15-year-old girl he had been exchanging text messages with for about two weeks, according to court records. The girl, “Lyla,” was actually an undercover Rice Lake police officer.
“While he denied that he intended to have sex with the person he was communicating with, he did admit that he had traveled more than two hours to meet with ‘Lyla’ tonight,” read the criminal complaint.
Rice Lake Police Officer Heather Wolfe began an undercover internet child enticement investigation March 13, by posting an online ad with the title “younger lady looking for older” on an unnamed website’s section that consisted of mostly ads seeking sexual relationships, according to the criminal complaint.
On June 14, Wolfe received a response to the post from a person with initials J.B., according to the complaint.
The response read, “high, you put a post on a while ago looking to hang with an older guy. I just came across it again. I love for you to consider me. I’m not going to write a ton right now, but if you get back to me, I’ll tell you all about myself. I hope you still get this,” the message read.
Wolfe responded, asking where he was from and asked him to text her. During the course of a few days, the man sent follow-up emails about the number he was given and provided his own.
Shortly before Rust’s arrest, Wolfe was able to identify the person she was receiving text messages from as Rust by using photos he had sent to Wolfe compared with his driver’s license photo, according to court documents.
A series of text exchanges was included in the criminal complaint. Rust first texted the number around 10:45 p.m. June 22 and identified himself as “Jay” and asked how old the girl was, according to court records.
“i’m only almost 16 is that ok or no ...,” Wolfe wrote in response.
During the initial conversation, Wolfe was asked to send a photo and received one back, according to court documents.
Rust allegedly then told the girl to “save yourself for me” and when asked if he meant until 18, he responded “No I mean now,” according to court documents. The messages then turned to a sexual nature.
In subsequent text exchanges, Rust and Wolfe made plans for meetings June 24 and June 26 that did not happen. A third meeting was scheduled for 10 p.m. June 28.
Rust allegedly planned to meet the girl in a mall parking lot in Rice Lake. Surveillance was monitoring the parking lot and saw a vehicle with Minnesota license plates that police determined was registered to Rust, according to court documents.
“During the course of the surveillance, Officer Wolfe had text conversation with Mr. Rust who indicated that he was nervous that he had seen what he believed to be several law enforcement vehicles watching the area,” the criminal complaint read.
Wolfe then sent Rust the address to an apartment complex in Rice Lake.
“Mr. Rust’s vehicle was subsequently observed entering the parking lot to that apartment complex where officers subsequently made contact with and arrested him,” the criminal complaint read.
Rust admitted to sending the text messages, stated that he used the name “Jay” and said that he knew the girl he was speaking to was 15 years old, according to court documents.
Rust stated he believed it was the girl who first brought up the sexual topic and denied he had traveled to Wisconsin that night to have sex with the girl, according to court documents.
Rust was released July 5 on a $5,000 bond.
Rust coached girls and boys tennis at Lourdes High School from 1982 until 2010, and also had a stint in the late 1980s directing the Mayo girls and boys teams.
A longtime tennis teaching professional at the Rochester Athletic Club until leaving there in 2014, Rust had a tennis dynasty with the Lourdes girls.
He coached the Eagles to 11 state championships, including at one point 10 straight championships. Rust also coached eight girls and three boys to state singles championships at Lourdes.
Steve Tacl, who worked with Rust as a tennis professional at the RAC and who coached under him at Lourdes for two years before taking over the girls and boys programs in 2010, said he never witnessed anything inappropriate from him.
Tacl was shocked by the news of Rust’s arrest.
“I never saw anything like that from Kevin,” Tacl said. “And I never heard any inquiries about him.”
Sophia Terzic, a graduate of Lourdes (2014) and the University of Minnesota (2017), was coached by Rust at both places, and had Rust as her longtime personal coach at the RAC. Rust directed her Minnesota club team for two seasons.
Now 22, Terzic said she was stunned by the report on him.
“Kevin was a phenomenal coach and person,” Terzic said. “He taught me about tennis and life. I really respected him. I didn’t see this coming. None of us saw this coming. I am shocked. I never expected anything like this from him.”
As a coach, Rust was regarded as an excellent tennis teacher. But he also prided himself on teaching his players character. He wanted that to be reflected in their on-court behavior.
“My philosophy as a high school coach was always be accountable for what you do, and for how you treat people on the court,” Rust said in a 2010 Post Bulletin article, as he reflected on his career.
In 2017, Rust was inducted into the Rochester Quarterbacks Club Hall of Fame.