Allegations of a Sex Crime: When Private Moments Go Public

Sex Crime Allegations

Today’s widespread use of technology can often blur the lines between public and personal lives and work and private lives, and sometimes when imperfect but private actions go public they can result in a detrimental legal effect. The worst of these situations is when a legal action is unwarranted but results in non-legal impact, such as in the case of a wrongly alleged sex crime. Recently, child pornography charges were brought against a college football coach who took home videos of his minor children on his work phone. So far, an additional search for incriminating evidence to support the charges has turned up short.

According to the Star Tribune, the 46-year-old coach faces two counts of child pornography for three home videos he shot on his employer-issued cellphone. The coach is on paid administrative leave until the investigation by his employer is concluded.

This past summer, the coach shot two videos on his work cellphone lasting no more than a minute. The videos showed children dropping bath towels and jumping around. According to the Free Press, one video showed the coaches three children, a boy and two girls between the ages of 5 and 9, dancing naked and touching themselves, and the second video shows the girls dancing naked as the boy enters with only a football helmet. A third video, shot later in the summer, shows one of the girls being woke up to go to the bathroom.

The coach’s wife called the charges against her husband “ridiculous” and said the videos of her children were not sexual and are simply videos of “kids being silly.” The coach’s criminal defense attorney also identified the coach as innocent of the child pornography charges and asserts the coach lacked the intent to sexualize or disseminate the videos.

The coach was arrested in August after an IT worker reported what he understood as child pornography on the coach’s work-phone. The work-cellphone was brought in for repairs. Only hours after the arrest investigators arrived at the coach’s home and took personal computers, DVDs, CDs, digital cameras and other items of potential relevance. The day after, authorities arrived with a search warrant for the coach’s car. The search warrant was obtained after investigators witnessed the coach put electronic equipment in the vehicle.

The police’s search failed to turn up any additional child pornography and an investigation by the county welfare department did not find any sexual abuse occurred in the home. However, the case may to go to trial based on the cellphone evidence. Multiple motions to dismiss the charges have been filed but a hearing has not yet been scheduled. Therefore, the question remains whether the videos were pornographic or innocent conduct that was misunderstood.

If you face sex crime charges, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights.