Public Safety

Iowa Barnstormers debate future amid child porn investigation of co-founder

Program cuts ties with Greg Stephen after police seize cameras and computers

Iowa Barnstormers
Iowa Barnstormers

CEDAR RAPIDS — Days after it ousted a coach who court records show possessed dozens of videos of “disrobed” underage boys, the Iowa Barnstormers amateur basketball organization sought Monday to remain a viable program for young players.

Executive Director Jamie Johnson said the Amateur Athletic Union program plans on having an all-encompassing meeting with parents and coaches Sunday to discuss options and finalize plans to move forward. More than a decade ago, he and Greg Stephen founded the Iowa Barnstormers, which fields teams for boys from fourth to 12th grade and girls from seventh through 12th grade.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation announced Friday it was investigating Stephen, 42, of Monticello, after searches based on a tip led them to find more than 100 video clips that court records indicate may be of team members unknowingly recorded while in hotel showers.

The Barnstormers said they have cut ties with Stephen, although authorities have not announced an arrest.

“I can tell you this does not define us as a program,” Johnson said Monday. “The vast majority of feedback we have gotten has been very supportive. But what this all turns into, I can’t really say anything at this point.”

The Barnstormers announced Monday that Johnson is the organization’s new executive director, with Jamie Pettigrew the high school program director and former Iowa Hawkeyes player Val Barnes the youth program director.

The AAU season begins in early spring.

The list of Barnstormers alumni is a veritable who’s who of area basketball. Jordan Bohannon, Connor McCaffery, Wes Washpun and Jarrod Uthoff are among those who played at one time for the program.

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Stephen recently was coaching a group of now-11th graders that includes Iowa City West’s Patrick McCaffery, Linn-Mar’s Trey Hutcheson, North-Linn’s Jake Hilmer and West Delaware’s Derek Krogmann. Current and former players and coaches in the program have been contacted about the scandal but declined to comment.

The investigation dates to Feb. 15 when a man who appears to be a contractor was doing work in Stephen’s ranch-style home in Monticello. According to a court affidavit, the man — whose name is redacted from the record — spotted a recording device of some kind in the bathroom.

Without elaborating, the affidavit said the man had “past concerns involving photographic images possessed by Stephen of young males,” and so took the device and later inspected it.

Four days later, the tipster provided the device to Monticello police.

Two days after that, a DCI agent and forensics examiner, acting on a search warrant, found “in excess” of 100 videos of nude “non adult males” and images of Stephen on the device, records show.

A search the next day of Stephen’s Monticello home and cabin in Delhi yielded 15 smart or flip phones, various computers, hard drives and thumbdrives, security cameras, a backpack with “two covert cameras, and a “smoke detector/possible camera,” among other items, search warrant inventories show.

According to the affidavit used to obtain a search warrant for Stephen’s Delhi cabin, the tipster said Stephen “is known to have summertime group get-togethers at the above-noted residence with players of the Iowa Barnstormers Basketball organization.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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