IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Police are investigating whether an elite Iowa youth basketball coach took video recordings of nude teenagers without their knowledge after a source gave them an electronic device containing child pornography, investigators said Friday.
The Iowa Barnstormers of the Amateur Athletic Union announced late Thursday on Twitter that 42-year-old Greg Stephen was no longer with the traveling organization, where several prominent players have been on the roster since its founding in 2005.
"We are all shocked and saddened by this news," the program said in a statement Friday, urging current and former players "who experienced anything" to make official police reports.
Investigators executed search warrants Thursday at Stephen's homes in Monticello and Delhi in northeast Iowa, the Iowa Department of Public Safety said. The searches came after agents obtained a device containing videos of "young, non-adult disrobed male individuals" who didn't appear to know they were being recorded, the department said, urging anyone with relevant information or parents with questions to call.
Investigators were looking for evidence of "unlawful manufacturing of child pornography and invasion of privacy," as well as evidence of "additional" pornographic images and victims who may have been recorded, court documents show.
Stephen hasn't been charged with any crimes.
Stephen's father, Roger, who with his son runs a family-owned car dealership in Monticello, said the family has been advised not to comment by lawyers. But he dismissed any allegations of wrongdoing, calling them "fake news" and noting his son has run the team successfully for 12 years.
"There's nothing to hide. It isn't the way it looks," Roger Stephen told The Associated Press. "My son has got many, many scholarship players for all the schools around here. The team has been a great, great deal for the community. He's a great guy and there's no reason for all this to happen."
Sponsored by Adidas, Barnstormers alumni include Iowa's Jordan Bohannon and Connor McCaffery (son of Coach Fran McCaffery), Wisconsin star Ethan Happ and former Northern Iowa standouts Jeremy Morgan and Wes Washpun. Current players include two heralded Iowa recruits, Patrick McCaffery of Iowa City and Joe Weiskamp of Muscatine.
Court documents show that agents seized several items from Greg Stephen's home in Monitcello, including laptops, a hard drive, three security cameras and a backpack containing two "covert cameras."
A sworn affidavit signed by Division of Criminal Investigation special agent Ryan Kedley says the investigation started Sunday, when Monticello Police Chief Britt Smith received information from a source saying he had evidence of a criminal act.
The source told Smith that he was at Stephen's home on Feb. 15 performing construction services when he came across what appeared to be a plug-in electronic device with video recording capabilities in a bathroom, the affidavit says.
The source told Smith he was concerned about the nature of the device and had prior concerns "involving photographic images possessed by Stephen of young males." The source took the device and turned it over to police after finding video files of young males showering, the affidavit says.
Agents inspected the device Wednesday and found more than 100 video clips, including three folders labeled with names that were redacted in the affidavit. Two of those folders included clips of "young, non-adult male individuals disrobing to the point of nudity with genitalia exposed to the camera," Kedley wrote.
He added that the clips appeared to have been recorded in a hotel bathroom without their knowledge, and that additional footage in the device included footage of an adult male who appeared to be Stephen.