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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Iowa

Friday, October 19, 2018

Former Youth Basketball Coach Pleads Guilty to Sexual Exploitation of Children, Possession and Transportation of Child Pornography

DES MOINES, Iowa – Gregory Scott Stephen, age 42, of Monticello, Iowa, pleaded guilty on October 18, 2018, to five counts of sexual exploitation of a child, one count of possession of child pornography, and one count of transportation of child pornography, announced United States Attorney Marc Krickbaum. This case is being prosecuted by Southern District of Iowa Assistant United States Attorneys Clifford Cronk and Amy Jennings, who have been designated as Special Assistant United States Attorneys, based on the recusal of the Northern District of Iowa United States Attorney’s Office.

Stephen’s sentencing date has yet to be scheduled before United States Northern District of Iowa Judge C.J. Williams. Stephen entered his guilty pleas pursuant to a conditional plea agreement, which permits Stephen to seek appellate review of the District Court’s October 4, 2018, Order denying Stephen’s motion to suppress evidence. Stephen pleaded guilty to all of the charges filed against him, and no charges were dismissed as part of plea agreement.

Stephen is the former co-director of Barnstormers Basketball of Iowa. The Barnstormers operate youth basketball teams for athletes between fourth and twelfth grades. In addition to his administrative duties, Stephen also coached Barnstormer players.

Stephen admitted in the plea agreement that he posed online as three different minor females and persuaded, induced, and enticed minor boys to send Stephen sexually explicit images of themselves. Specifically, while posing online as a teenaged female, Stephen contacted minor males, offered to exchange nude images with the minor males, and suggested the type of sexually explicit images the minor males should produce. Unbeknownst to the minor males, Stephen used a software application to record live transmissions made by the minor boys.

Stephen admitted in the plea agreement that he traveled with one minor male, aged 11 or 12 at the time, to basketball tournaments and games, and hosted the minor male at Stephen’s lake house in Delhi, Iowa. Stephen admitted he produced a visual depiction that shows Stephen with his mouth on or near the minor male’s genitals while Stephen touched the minor male’s genitals with his hand. That visual depiction was located by investigators on a hard drive possessed by Stephen.

Stephen admitted in the plea agreement he possessed on a hard drive approximately 400 file folders with titles in the last and then first names of different minor males. All of the folders contained visual depictions of nude minor males displaying their genitalia, and some depictions involved masturbation by the minor males. The visual depictions fell into three different genre: (1) nude minor males secretly recorded in various bathrooms; (2) still images and videos of minor males taken by the minors themselves and depicting the minors masturbating and/or displaying their genitalia – these minors were persuaded, induced, or enticed by Stephen to produce these visual depictions; and (3) visual depictions produced by Stephen of minor males unconscious with their pants pulled down and exposed. In some of the depictions in the third category, Stephen recorded himself touching the genitals of unconscious victims. Some of the file folders have only one category of visual depictions, while some have all three.

Stephen admitted in the plea agreement he used a hidden camera device to secretly record several nude boys in hotel rooms in Ankeny and Illinois. Stephen placed the recording device in hotel bathrooms pointed toward the shower area, so that it recorded minor males coming in and out of the shower. None of the minor males were aware they were being recorded.

Sexual exploitation of a child is punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and a maximum sentence of 30 years imprisonment. Possession of child pornography is punishable by a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment. Transportation of child pornography is punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment. The sentences for each count could be ordered to run consecutively, meaning one after another, or concurrently, meaning at the same time. The maximum sentence Stephen could be ordered to serve is 180 years imprisonment. By statute, Stephen cannot receive a sentence less than 15 years imprisonment.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated this matter. The case is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

Project Safe Childhood
Rachel J. Scherle 515-473-9300
Updated October 19, 2018