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GALVESTON, Texas — A former gymnastics and cheerleading coach was sentenced on May 16 to 20 years in federal prison for transporting child pornography. The investigation that led to the sentence was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Houston’s Galveston office, with assistance from HSI Dallas, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Pearland Police Department and Galveston Police Department.
Darren Frank McCoy, a 55-year-old resident of McKinney, Texas, pleaded guilty on Dec. 1, 2022, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to transportation of child pornography. In entering his plea, McCoy, who is a former gymnastics coach at Metroplex Gymnastics and Swim in Allen, Texas, and former cheerleading coach at Top Dog Cheer in Montgomery, Alabama, admitted to recording teens in various stages of undress without their knowledge or consent and unlawfully transporting those images and videos. McCoy was also sentenced to serve 10 years of supervised release immediately following his time in prison.
“This individual abused his position of trust to prey on the innocence and vulnerability of children who were entrusted in his care,” said HSI Houston Special Agent in Charge Mark Dawson. “Thanks to the outstanding teamwork and tireless effort by HSI Galveston special agents and their fellow law enforcement partners, we have removed this child predator from the community and put him in federal prison where he will no longer be able to take advantage of minors.”
Law enforcement began their investigation on Nov. 30, 2019, when a cruise ship McCoy was on docked at the Galveston port of entry. Authorities sent him to secondary inspection after learning of a prior child pornography investigation from 2015. During inspection, they found images of child pornography on his laptop, which led them to seize other electronic devices such as his phone, which also contained child sexual abuse material.
Law enforcement later found nine videos on McCoy’s flash drive, which appeared to be taken with a hidden camera. These videos, taken approximately one 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.
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.
At the hearing, the court heard from one victim whom McCoy recorded while she was a minor. She discussed how her life has been seriously impacted by his 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.
McCoy will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly Ann Leo and Sherri Zack are prosecuting the case.
For more news and information on HSI’s efforts to aggressively investigate child exploitation and child pornography in Southeast Texas follow us on Twitter @HSIHouston.
HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.
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