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Press Release

Former Gymnastics Coach Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Knowing Possession of Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of Minors

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Keith Willette, 59, of Cameron Park, was sentenced today to 10 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release for knowing possession of material involving the sexual exploitation of minors, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, for decades, Willette was a gymnastics coach to young girls in multiple states throughout the country. In the mid-1980s, he met Juvenile Victim 2 and began spending significant amounts of time with her under the auspices of high-level gymnastics training. Willette began continually sexually abusing Juvenile Victim 2 from a young age, and used her to produce child pornography while he lived in the state of Washington. When Willette moved to El Dorado County in the late 1990s, he brought the sexually explicit videos and photographs he took of Juvenile Victim 2 to his home, and kept them until about May of 2004.

In the early 2000s, Willette became the gymnastics coach for Juvenile Victim 1, who was a talented 15-year-old athlete at the time.  When Juvenile Victim 1 was 16 or 17 years old, Willette began taking sexually explicit photographs of her, which he continued to knowingly possess until about April of 2004. 

A restitution hearing to determine how much Willette owes Juvenile Victims 1 and 2 will be held on Feb. 28, 2023. 

This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rosanne L. Rust and Christina McCall and Trial Attorneys Alicia Bove and Jessica L. Urban with the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the Department of Justice, Criminal Division, prosecuted the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

Updated December 13, 2022

Project Safe Childhood