HONOLULU (KHNL) - A popular cheerleading coach on Oahu is in police custody, suspected of being an online child predator.
Scott Sampaio was the head cheerleading coach at Waipahu and Campbell high schools, before starting his own cheerleading business in January of last year. Now, he's being linked to a high-profile sex assault case.
Celestine Choi, 8, practices at What's Up Gymnastics in Waipio. Her mother is disturbed that a man who coaches cheerleading in the facility is now accused of being an Internet predator.
"We just saw him Monday," Sonia Choi, gymnast's parent, said. "And it doesn't surprise me, honestly, because I figured something was a little weird."
On Tuesday, Scott Sampaio arrived at police headquarters, where officers arrested him on suspicion of electronic enticement, promoting child abuse and extortion.
Sources say the 28-year-old is suspected of being an accomplice to Lyle Nonaka. Nonaka, the co-owner of Mitsu-Ken Catering in Kalihi has already pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy.
"You know it's out there," Jae Choi, gymnast's parent, said. "But then you never want to think it's that close to home."
The owner of What's Up Gymnastics says Sampaio leases floor space to do tumbling exercises with his cheerleaders.
"Some coaches have small squads," Dan Misener, owner, said. "He had big squads, so I assumed he was doing a good job with his team."
Investigators believe Sampaio posed as a female on myspace.com, and threatened to post a nude picture of the young accuser on the Internet if he didn't meet with Nonaka.
"It's frightening 'cause you have the children, they don't know. They don't know," Sonia Choi said. "They assume everything is realistic."
"I'm surprised that that actually happened 'cause the coaches that I bring in here, I expect them to be professionals and try to keep a safe environment for the kids," Misener said.
Sampaio is locked up at the main police cellblock, awaiting charges.