Quebec's highest-ranked tennis player facing sex charges
Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press
Published Friday, February 22, 2013 12:10PM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 22, 2013 4:45PM EST
Quebec's highest-ranked male professional tennis player is facing five charges for allegedly soliciting sex from a 13-year-old girl in Florida.
Pierre-Ludovic Duclos, 27, was arrested Thursday during an elaborate sting by police and now faces the charges in Bradenton, Fla.
Police say Duclos allegedly texted lewd photos of himself to the girl.
Police in Manatee County said they called him and set up a meeting with a detective posing as the girl.
Duclos, described in a police affidavit as a "self-employed tennis pro," was subsequently arrested.
He is charged with using a computer to solicit a child to commit sexual acts; enticing a child; lewd and lascivious battery; transmission of material harmful to minors; and travelling to meet a minor after using a computer to lure a child.
Manatee County Sheriff spokesman Dave Bristow said Duclos was expected to make a first appearance before a judge on Friday.
He remains in custody and it will be up to a judge to determine whether he qualifies for bail.
The solicitation allegedly began on a tennis court two weeks ago, with Duclos offering to coach the girl.
"The defendant was made aware the victim was only thirteen years of age and a middle school student," says the police report.
"The victim's mother called the defendant and discussed lessons."
That's when Duclos and his alleged victim began text-messaging each other. Police say he asked the girl about "hooking up" and that the conversation became increasingly graphic.
Bristow said a friend of the girl reported the incident to her own mother, who in turn called police, which triggered the investigation.
"At that time, we initiated a conversation with the defendant, 'we' being a detective posing as the 13-year-old," Bristow said.
The conversation allegedly turned sexual again, so police set up a meeting at a coffee shop where detectives were waiting for him on Thursday, Bristow said.
Duclos is a Quebec City native who is currently 610th in the ATP tour rankings. That makes him Quebec's top-ranked male tennis player.
His last noted tennis event was a challenger in Rio de Janeiro in October 2012. His highest ever ranking was 229th.
According to his biography on the ATP website, Duclos speaks five languages, started playing tennis at age 10 and is nicknamed "Duke."
A spokesman for Tennis Canada said Friday the arrest came as a shock.
Louis-Philippe Dorais said Duclos hasn't represented Canada on the international stage and never really burst onto the scene to the point where he would have been a household name.
The federation had actually lost track of him in recent years, he added.
"Obviously it's very disappointing anytime you read something like that," Dorais said.
"At this point we don't know the whole story, all the facts. It's tough for us to comment further than this."