Former Bucks County Youth Basketball Coach Sentenced to 20 Years for Child Exploitation Offenses
PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that James Hardcastle, 42, of Bensalem, PA, was sentenced to 20 years in prison, 20 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $75,000 in fines by United States District Judge Gerald J. Pappert for multiple child exploitation offenses stemming from his conduct at an over-night basketball tournament in Wildwood, New Jersey and at his home in Bensalem.
In June 2016, Hardcastle transported three minor boys, ages 15, 16 and 16, as their coach to Wildwood, New Jersey to participate in a basketball tournament, and shared a motel room with them in which there was no shower curtain. The defendant installed a USB drive containing a hidden camera in a power outlet in the bathroom and surreptitiously filmed each of the minors taking showers. Previously, in June and July 2015, the defendant also attempted to videotape two minors in a bathroom using a hidden camera while the minors were visiting his home in Bensalem. The defendant pleaded guilty in December 2019 to three counts of transporting minors with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and two counts of attempted production of child pornography.
“This defendant took advantage of his position of trust as a youth basketball coach to exploit children for his own satisfaction,” U.S. Attorney McSwain said. “This is heinous and reprehensible behavior that deserves the serious punishment that was meted out today. My Office will continue to prioritize the protection of children from such predation.”
“The boys James Hardcastle victimized will never forget their trusted coach’s betrayal,” said Michael J. Driscoll, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “He used his relationship with them for his own gratification, setting them up for his illicit secret recordings. The FBI will never stand by when we learn of the sexual exploitation of children. Such predators need to be taken off the street so they can’t harm anyone else.”
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 CEOS, 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 www.justice.gov/psc.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the Philadelphia Police Department Special Victims Unit and the Bensalem Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michelle L. Morgan.