Public Safety

Former Iowa Barnstormers youth basketball coach will plead to 7 child porn charges

CEDAR RAPIDS — A former youth basketball coach accused of videotaping naked teenagers and other related charges will plead guilty, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

Lawyers for Greg Stephen, 42, of Monticello, filed an intent to make a conditional plea to all seven charges. He is charged with one count of transportation of child pornography on Jan. 27, five charges of sexual exploitation of a child from 2010 through 2013, and possession of child pornography on Feb. 22.

Stephen, a former Barnstormers coach for many years, is accused of secretly recording naked teenage basketball players in a hotel bathroom. The videos were seized during a Feb. 22 search of Stephen’s residence in Monticello, court documents show.

Stephen faces five to 20 years on the transportation charge, up to 30 years for each sexual exploitation count and up to 25 for possession, according to federal laws.

Last week, U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams denied his motions to dismiss the charges and suppress the videotaped evidence of naked teenagers from the trial. The defense argued the videos didn’t depict child pornography and the evidence was illegally obtained and violated Stephen’s privacy rights.

U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams denied those motions, saying that Stephen admitted to investigators that he recorded the players out of “sexual curiosity” and that he became aroused while viewing them.

Williams also denied the defense’s argument that contractor Vaughn Ellison, who discovered a USB device in a hidden camera in Stephen’s home bathroom, removed it as part of a warrantless search and seizure.

Ellison, owner of Lakeside Construction in Monticello and was remodeling Stephen’s home, reviewed files on the USB device and turned it over to Monticello police a few days later. During a previous hearing, Ellison testified that he found at least 50 files on the device, including individual files featuring three different boys’ names.

Williams said there was no evidence that Ellison was working for authorities. Ellison took the USB device and, once he viewed them he knew the images were illegal. Afterward, he turned the device over to the Monticello police. A search warrant was then obtained before the videos were viewed by investigators.

The plea hearing hasn’t been set at this time in U.S. District Court.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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