Gymnastics coach gets max in disturbing child pornography case
The following press release was issued the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Southern District of Texas on Tuesday, May 16, 2023.
GALVESTON, Texas – A 55-year-old McKinney resident has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for transportation of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.
Darren Frank McCoy pleaded guilty Dec. 1, 2022, admitting he was previously a gymnastics and cheerleading coach in Texas and Alabama. He had recorded teens in various stages of undress without their knowledge or consent and had unlawfully transported those images and videos as well as disturbing images of child pornography.
Today U.S. District Judge Jeffery V. Brown ordered him to serve a total of 240 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by a 10 years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard from one woman whom McCoy recorded while she was a minor. She discussed how her life has been seriously impacted by McCoy’s conduct, describing how he stole her childhood experiences without her even knowing it and that she feels rage, anger and sadness and lack of empathy toward him. Another victim described how McCoy sexually abused her from the time she was 12 until the age of 18. She detailed how she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety. McCoy was a gymnastics coach to these women.
“Darren McCoy is the definition of a predator,” said Hamdani. “We encourage our children to engage in sports, believing that they will be safe when doing so. Instead, these athletes were betrayed. This so-called coach surreptitiously recorded teens and sexually abused a minor for several years. Hopefully, knowing the only bars he will see now are behind a federal prison cell will give his victims some long-awaited peace.”
On Nov. 30, 2019, McCoy had been on a cruise ship which docked in the Galveston Port of Entry. Authorities sent him to secondary inspection after learning of a prior child pornography investigation from 2015.
There, they found images of child pornography on his laptop which led them to seize other electronic devices including his phone which also yielded numerous pornographic images.
They also found nine videos on McCoy’s flash drive which appeared to be taken with a hidden camera. These videos, which appeared to be taken approximately a decade ago, were of teens changing their clothes or showering in a residential bathroom, a gym and at a hotel for a cheerleading competition. One of the teens was found to be a minor at the time.
A subsequent search at McCoy’s residence in McKinney led authorities to discover two covert recording devices. Through the investigation, law enforcement learned McCoy was a gymnastics and cheerleading coach at Metroplex Gymnastics and Swim in Allen and had previously been a coach at Top Dog Cheer in Montgomery, Alabama.
In total, authorities found 10 videos and 290 images of child pornography on McCoy’s devices. His collection included children between the ages of 1 and 8 in various stages of undress in a hospital, mortuary or morgue-type setting.
McCoy will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) – Galveston conducted the investigation with the assistance of police departments in Galveston and Pearland, Customs and Border Protection and HSI – Dallas.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly Ann Leo and Sherri Zack are prosecuting the case, which was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative the Department of Justice (DOJ) launched in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. U.S. Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section leads PSC, which marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and identifies and rescues victims. For more information about PSC, please visit DOJ’s PSC page. For more information about internet safety education, please visit the resources link on that page.
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