Public Safety

Greg Stephen's lawyer withdraws motion to reconsider ex-coach's 180-year sentence

Defense says claims will be saved for appeal

Greg Stephen
Greg Stephen

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids lawyer for convicted former youth basketball coach Greg Stephen has withdrawn his motion asking a judge to reconsider his client’s 180-year sentence for secretly recording naked teen players and touching them while they slept.

Mark Meyer, in a motion filed Tuesday, said his arguments are moot because he filed his motion to reconsider before U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams formerly filed his judgment and sentence. In a criminal case, a judge has “extremely limited authority” to correct a judgment and sentence, Meyer said, so his constitutional claims that were raised must now be considered in an appeal to the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

Meyer, in his previous motion, claimed the 180-year sentence for Stephen is “cruel and unusual” and argued Williams acted as a “fact-finder” and became an “advocate rather than impartial finder of fact,” during last week’s sentencing hearing.

Meyer didn’t agree with Williams’ questioning the defense’s expert witness about diagnosing Stephen as having a “voyeuristic disorder.”

Williams, during the hearing, said Stephen wasn’t just a “voyeur,” as the psychiatrist said. Stephen was a “hands-on” abuser, the judge said.

Williams, during sentencing, noted that the former Barnstormers coach was in a position of trust as an elite basketball coach to “exploit, manipulate and abuse” children. Stephen, he added, was the “gateway” for many of these teen players to get into college programs and receive scholarships.

According to evidence, Stephen, 43, of Monticello, “repeatedly sexually abused children” from 1999 to February 2018, when he was arrested. He abused 440 victims by covertly videotaping naked teens getting into and out of the shower at his homes and in hotel rooms; posing as girls on the internet to receive explicit photos and videos; and touching the teens while they slept.

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Stephen pleaded guilty in October to five counts of sexual exploitation of a child and one count each of possession of child pornography and transportation of child pornography.

The Barnstormers, an Amateur Athletic Union program, cut ties with Stephen when the investigation became public in February 2018. Stephen was the director of the organization until that point. His full-time job was working for his father’s car dealership in Monticello.

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

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