A college football coach who once warned about the dangers of social media , saying “real consequences, including criminal, exist,” has been accused of sending “sexual messages” to two teenage boys through Snapchat, police say.
A warrant for Patrick Onesko, a 27-year-old coach at California University of Pennsylvania, was issued March 14 by the South Fayette Township Police, WTAE-TV reports.
Onesko is not yet in custody and police were looking for him, the news station reports.
The East Millsboro resident is facing a charge of criminal solicitation, two counts of corruption of minors and two counts of unlawful contact with a minor, according to the Observer-Reporter.
Police searched his parents’ home in South Fayette Township Tuesday morning, the newspaper reports. Police Chief John R. Phoennik told the Observer-Reporter Onesko is on an out-of-state vacation with his parents.
Lieutenant John Leininger told the newspaper Onesko has made contact with police.
“We’ll track him down and pick him up if he doesn’t turn himself in in a reasonable amount of time,” said Leininger.
Cal U. told the newspaper that they were made aware of the charges against the part-time employee on Tuesday.
“We take this very, very seriously. We are following internal procedures as we get more information,” Cal U. spokesperson Christine Kindl said. “We will cooperate with police if we are asked to do so.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Onesko Made a Presentation Called ‘Coaching Boys Into Men,’ Warning About the Dangers of Social Media
Pat Onesko gave a presentation in 2013 called “Coaching Boys Into Men: Digital Disrespect,” in which he warned about the dangers of social media and gave advice on how to talk to young football players about the issue.
“Online actions have REAL consequences!” Onesko wrote in one slide. “Create a safe and respectful digital world.”
Onesko, who is accused of asking a teen boy to perform a sex act on him, wrote, “Never pressure someone for a nude or private picture. Avoid abusive, controlling digital behavior. Imagine how you would feel if someone disrespected your sister, best friend or yourself in cyber-space.”
He also wrote, “Avoid sending repeated, unwanted texts … Establish and respect boundaries,” and said, “Digital actions represent not only yourself but your team. A team is a family – protect yourself and create a family friendly digital environment!”
You can see the full presentation below:
He closed the presentation by writing, “Establish and respect boundaries! … Pressuring someone for a nude or private picture is never okay! … Real consequences, including criminal, exist!”
The presentation appears to be part of a college class, as Onesko as pursuing his master’s in teaching at the time.
2. Police Say the Teen Boys Who Received ‘Sexual’ Snapchat Messages Were Either Coached or Scouted by Onesko
Onesko sent the 15-year-old victims messages through the social media app, asking one of the boys to “perform a sex act.” He also “tried to initiate further sexual conversation,” police said, according to a criminal complaint obtained by WTAE-TV.
The victims had been either “coached or scouted” by Onesko at some point, and identified the sender as “Coach O,” police said.
According to the Observer-Reporter, the investigation began February 6 when a South Fayette man told police his son had received sexually explicit messages from a man on Snapchat.
The account was traced to Onesko, police said.
Investigators have confiscated a computer and cellphone from Onesko’s parents home, and also confiscated a university computer used by Onesko, according to court documents.
The five charges filed against Onesko are all felonies.
3. He Became a Defensive Line Coach at California University in 2015 Amid Turmoil in the Program That Included Several Player Arrests
Patrick Onesko became a defensive line coach at California University of Pennsylvania in 2015, according to the school’s website.
“Last year, Onesko worked with a defensive line that helped Cal U rank No. 23 in the country with 2.91 sacks per game,” the university said. He was a volunteer coach in 2015.
Onesko was added to the staff amid turmoil in the program that led to the hiring of a new head coach, Gary Dunn, according to the MonValley Independent. Dunn was hired after incidents involving player arrests, including a “beating in California borough that involved numerous players” and led to the cancellation of a game, the news site reports.
Dunn told the news site he and his new staff were working to improve the perception of the team.
4. He Previously Worked as a High School Teacher & Football Coach
Onesko previously worked as a high school teacher and football coach, including at South Fayette High School from 2009 to 2014, according to the Cal U website. He worked as a wide receivers coach and special teams coordinator, as well as a junior varsity coach.
Onesko helped lead South Fayette to a state championship in 2013, and talked to the Herald-Standard of Uniontown, Pennsylvania, about why he coaches:
Watching these kids grow, it’s so much fun to me. It’s such a rewarding thing, watching them as these little, wide-eyed, not-sure, uncertain eighth- and ninth-graders grow into these tremendous people who work so hard and care so much about what they do. To me, that’s as fun as it gets to watch a kid, a kind of clumsy and uncoordinated seventh-grader blossom into this tremendous athlete and this tremendous person. That’s what validates putting in all this time. Coaching high school football, you don’t do it for the pay, you don’t worry about the time commitment, you do it for all the right reasons. And we have a staff that does it for all the right reasons. We are there for the kids and to watch these kids grow.
He also coached at the Lauren’s First and Goal camp in 2016.
Onesko worked as a paraprofessional at Hampton High School for one year in 2015, according to Hampton Township School District documents.
He was a history teacher previously.
5. He Is a Pennsylvania Native Who Graduated From Washington & Jefferson College
Onesko is a native of Brownsville, Pennsylvania, has also lived in Pittsburgh, according to his Facebook page. He graduated from Brownsville High School in 2007. He played offensive and defensive line at the school.
He then graduated from Washington & Jefferson College in 2011 with a degree in history.
Onesko received his master’s in teaching at Waynesburg University.