Former Coach Contacts Young Teenager
A 27-year-old Plano man has been sentenced to 120 months in prison on charges
of child exploitation. The man was known as a gymnastics coach to young
students in the area. He was accused of contacting a former 14-year-old
student with the intent of meeting the boy for sex. The boy's mother
had become suspicious after she had seen a message from the coach on her
son's Facebook, asking the child to send him pictures in his underwear.
Plano police interviewed the teen and learned that text and FaceTime communication
had occurred between the two. Law enforcement took over his Facebook identity
to communicate with the coach. When the coach suggested meeting at the
mall and going to a hotel room, police followed him to the mall and arrested
him there. It was discovered that the coach booked a hotel room prior
to the supposed meeting.
The coach was sentenced to 120 months in prison, counseling in a sex offender
rehabilitation unit, drug treatment, and mental health counseling.
Project Safe Childhood
The arrest of the coach comes as a result of Project Safe Childhood. Project
Safe Childhood is a federal initiative aimed at combating child exploitation.
Launched in 2006, the Department of Justice has seen a 40% increase in
the amount of child exploitation cases that have been prosecuted..
In 2008, a year-long evaluation of the threat of child exploitation was
completed. This evaluation revealed that there has been an increase in
case so exploitation, significantly in the areas of:
- Child pornography
- Online enticement of children for sexual purposes
- Commercial sexual exploitation
- Child sex tourism
Since the threat of child exploitation remains, the agency has increased
strategy to stop this crime by partnering with law enforcement, bringing
awareness to concerned citizens, and pushing harsher punishments for those
charged with the crime.