Greg Stephen, 43, was sentenced to 180 years in federal prison yesterday, by US District Judge C.J Williams, who opted for the maximum possible sentence
The 43-year-old former youth basketball coach in Iowa was accused of who abusing 440 boys, spanning 1999 to 2018
Stephen was co-founder of the Barnstormers athletics team, in Iowa, an elite Basketball team who competed nationally and were sponsored by Adidas
The judge scolded him for ‘exploiting his position of trust to prey upon his victims who saw him as their biggest hope to help them to college basketball glory’
For nearly two decades he fondled children, drugged minors and took sexually explicit selfies with players as they slept during sporting trips
He catfished his wards, luring them to send him sexually explicit images of themselves posing online as girls
His brother-in-law found a secret recording device in his home, containing thousands of sexual images of his players and their friends
According to prosecutors, 15 of his victims suffered ‘hands on’ abuse and many awoke to him fondling their genitals in hotel rooms across two decades
Although he pled guilty to multiple charges of child sexual exploitation and production of child pornography, he reportedly wants to appeal his conviction on the basis that seizure of incriminating images violated his privacy rights
The ‘harm the defendant caused to the children is incalculable and profound,’ said US District Judge C.J Williams, who opted for the maximum possible sentence of 180 years in federal prison for the 43-year-old former basketball coach on May 2
A youth basketball coach has been jailed for the rest of his life after it was discovered he’d sexually exploited or manipulated 440 boys over the period of two decades.
Greg Stephen, 43, was sentenced to 180 years in federal prison yesterday, by US District Judge C.J Williams, who opted for the maximum possible sentence.
Williams called the shamed coach’s actions horrendous, remarking that he ‘manipulated and abused children for almost two decades’, exploiting his position of trust to prey upon his victims who saw him as their biggest hope to help them to college basketball glory.
‘The harm the defendant caused to the children is incalculable and profound,’ Williams said from the bench in federal court in Cedar Rapids.
Williams added that his crimes were ‘of such an extreme nature’ that they warranted an effective life term.
The staggering near two-century sentence capped off one of Iowa’s largest and most shocking sexual abuse cases in the state’s history.
Stephen co-founded the Barnstormers, an elite Basketball team who competed nationally and were sponsored by Adidas.
The image was just one of several thousand stored on the hidden hard drive that was turned in police in February 2018.
It contained more than 400 folders, listed alphabetically by the victim’s last name, varying anywhere from two images to 100 of each boy.
These images included secret recordings of boys in bathrooms, hotel rooms, and changing in one of Stephen’s two properties.
At least 15 of the 440 counts of abuse Stephen was prosecuted with were ‘hands on’, prosecutors said.
Between 1999 and 2018, multiple victims accused Stephen of sharing a hotel bed with them during basketball trips and awaking in the middle of the night to find him masturbating their genitals at the same time as his.
Speaking to the Des Moines Register last year, one student told the outlet Stephen had masturbated next to him in a Las Vegas hotel room, but he was too scared to report it through fear of jeopardizing his college basketball aspirations.
‘I was so young,’ he said. ‘I feel like that’s what his power was against us – we were so young.’
Prosecutors agreed, remarking that Stephen used the Barnstormers as a ‘steady, replenishing stream of victims’.
Mothers of two of the victims urged the judge to impart a life sentence on Stephen, who also help manage his family’s car dealership in Monticello.
‘He believed you held the keys to the basketball kingdom,’ said the mother of one boy, who was tricked by Stephen into sending videos of himself masturbating. ‘My son trusted you and you destroyed that. … How dare you use basketball for your selfish, despicable, disgusting, self-seeking motivation.’
On the contrary, the coach’s attorneys sought leniency in his sentencing, hoping to secure a term of 20 years followed by intensive supervision upon his release.
Defense lawyers argued that Stephen was a voyeur and not a serial molester, meaning his urges are controllable and he was a low risk for re-offending now he’d been reprimanded.
‘He’s not a threat to society,’ his father added.
Stephen addressed family members of his victims in the courtroom, saying the he was ‘disgusted. The things I have done are repulsive and wrong.’
He added that his greatest regret was that his coaching success stories had now been forever tarnished – an outburst rebuked by the judge, who insisted his regret should be for the harm he caused his victims and their families.
Greg Stephen exploited his position of trust as co-founder of Barnstormers athletics club in Iowa to abuse the teen boys. The elite Basketball team who competed nationally and were sponsored by Adidas was regarded as the path to basketball glory by the victims
Stephen’s two decades of vile sexual abuse and exploitation was finally unearthed in February last year, when his brother-in-law discovered a secret recording device during renovation work in the coach’s home.
Among the thousands of images of his players and their friends, an additional file titled ‘vault’ was also found among the hard drive, containing thousands more images of unnamed young boys.
Stephen, who has been in jail since his arrest last year, pled guilty to multiple charges of child sexual exploitation and production of child pornography.
It’s believed he will seek to appeal his conviction and sentence, claiming the seizure of the recording device violated his privacy rights.