Sometimes getting caught for one crime leads to the discovery of other far-worse ones.
That appears to be the case with Joel White, a youth soccer coach from Missouri. White was busted at the U.S. soccer team's World Cup-qualifying match at Dick's Sporting Goods Park for allegedly swiping jerseys and the like. Afterward, though, investigators say they discovered that he'd been videotaping his players -- girls in the twelve-thirteen age range -- while they undressed.
The release from Tammy Dickinson, the U.S. Attorney for the western district of Missouri, lays out the facts in the most basic terms. The office notes that law-enforcement officers in Commerce City came upon White "as part of a criminal investigation" at the March 22 match between the United States and Costa Rica -- the one that took place in a blinding snowstorm.
What was White doing at the time? According to court documents cited by 7News, he was covering the match as a reporter -- and he used his press access to steal assorted jerseys and other commemorative items.
After White was taken into custody, a number of videos were found on cameras and memory cards he had with him -- and they raised a great many more concerns than did the relatively minor thefts. The U.S. Attorney's Office notes that several of them show White hiding a video camera in the bedroom of his home in Lee's Summit, Missouri, then leaving. Moments later, several pre-teen girls enter the room and begin changing clothes.
At moments during the video, they are completely nude, the statement notes.
Under questioning, White is said to have admitted that this startling offense was hardly the first of its kind. Court documents maintain that he shot video of nude girls ten to fifteen times between May and October of last year. Four of them have been identified thus far, and Kansas City's Fox affiliate reports that at least two of them were members of the soccer team he coached.
The station also quotes a neighbor who says White would often host pool parties at his home with lots of young girls present.
The Daily Mail adds that White is said to have admitted to "inappropriately touching one girl while she was sleeping and recording the molestation."
White has been coaching two squads -- one for girls under twelve, the other for girls under fifteen -- under the auspices of the Lee's Summit Soccer Association. The organization's website currently features the following statement:
The Lee's Summit Soccer Association is aware of the on-going investigation of a Lee's Summit soccer Coach. Our organization is cooperating with the Lee's Summit Police Department's investigators. For additional information please contact the Lee's Summit Police Department. LSSA Executive Board.
At this point, the charge against White is producing child pornography. He faces a possible fifteen-thirty years behind bars if convicted. Here's a larger look at his mug shot.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.