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Press Release

Former Youth Basketball Coach Sentenced to 180 Years in Prison for Sexual Exploitation of Children, Possession and Transportation of Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa – On May 2, 2019, Gregory Scott Stephen, age 43, of Monticello, Iowa, was sentenced by United States Northern District of Iowa Judge C.J. Williams to 180 years – the maximum statutory penalty – in federal prison, announced United States Attorney Marc Krickbaum. Stephen 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.

During the sentencing hearing, Judge Williams stated the defendant “is a hands-on sexual abuser of children” who “exploited, manipulated, and abused children for almost two decades.” According to Judge Williams, defendant’s crime was “horrendous,” and the harm he caused his victims was “incalculable and profound.” Stephen was 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.

“The Defendant exploited boys who looked up to him as a coach and mentor,” stated Krickbaum. “He had power over these kids, and he exploited that power. The sentence imposed today reflects the enormity of his crimes.” Krickbaum continued, “I want to thank the law enforcement officers and advocates who worked with the victims and their families. Most importantly, thank you to the victims who came forward to tell your stories. Your courage is inspiring.”

“The significant sentence imposed today is the result of law enforcement cooperation at the local, state, and federal levels,” stated Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Rick Rahn. “The DCI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate those who sexually exploit and abuse children.”

According to court documents, Stephen violated over 400 minor victims in a multitude of ways – he secretly recorded victims while they were nude, tricked victims into sending Stephen sexually explicit images and videos by impersonating a minor female online, and photographed victims’ genitals while the victims slept, and in some cases, photographed himself touching the victims’ genitals.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Monticello Police Department investigated this matter. This case was 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.


Rachel J. Scherle

Updated May 3, 2019

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