A long journey ended at a Polk County jail Friday for a Massachusetts youth hockey coach.
He was arrested up north Thursday and brought to Polk County Friday after a Lakeland mother says she caught him trying to solicit sex from her 16-year-old son online.
Anthony "Tony" DeSilva exited a Polk County Sheriff's Office squad car with his head down and with little to say.
Investigators say that's a far cry from the "Tony," who contacted a 16-year-old Lakeland boy.
They say DeSilva, who lives in southern Massachusetts and has been a youth hockey coach for 15 years, used Facebook to send sexually suggestive messages and naked pictures to the young man and another Polk County boy.
He's behind bars in Florida because of this very involved single mom.
"I had been monitoring his Facebook because I do that with my son's stuff," said the boy's mother, who asked not to be identified.
She says she has her son's Facebook password to keep an eye on his activity. She saw what was going on and contacted authorities immediately.
That's when she gave Polk County deputies permission to pose as her son on the social networking site. Investigators say that led to DeSilva's arrest in Massachusetts Thursday.
Despite this, the mother isn't mad at DeSilva.
"I really didn't have anger, I don't have anger now, I'm just going to be honest with you I'm just very happy that my son is safe," the mother said.
People who know him from his hockey rink in Massachusetts say this doesn't sound like DeSilva at all.
"The only thing you ever hear of Tony DeSilva in this building is how great a coach he is,' said rink employee Larry Perry.
Back in Florida, the boy's mother says the man behind the messages she saw should not be working with children.
"It scares me that he is with other kids," she said.
He's been charged with ten counts of use of a computer to seduce a child. And while this mom says many of her friends thinks she's too vigilant monitoring her son online, she says this should serve as an example of what can happen to kids on the internet and why parents should stay involved.
"I'm very fortunate that myself, as well as authorities, were able to catch it very early that nothing happened to my son," the mother said.
According to the team's website DeSilva has been the general manager and head coach of the Mass Maple Leafs since 1997. The junior league hockey team has players whose ages range from 16 to 20 years old.
Investigators say DeSilva also told detectives he works for a group home for the mentally challenged.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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