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‘The definition of a predator’: Cheer coach sent to prison for ‘disturbing’ photo and video collection of showering teens, kids in ‘morgue-type setting’

Darren Frank McCoy (WFSA screenshot)

Darren Frank McCoy (WFSA screenshot)

A 55-year-old former cheerleading and gymnastics coach in Texas will spend two decades behind bars for transporting child pornography that included images of infants and toddlers in a “morgue-type setting,” federal authorities announced.

U.S. District Judge Jeffery V. Brown on Tuesday ordered Darren Frank McCoy to serve a total of 240 months in federal prison followed by 10 years of supervised release, prosecutors said, callng the case “disturbing.” McCoy in December 2022 pleaded guilty to unlawfully transporting images and videos of teens recorded “in various stages of undress without their knowledge or consent.”

During the sentencing hearing in the Southern District of Texas, two of McCoy’s victims addressed the court and explained how their former coach’s crimes affected their lives.

According to the Justice Department, the first victim was one of the girls that McCoy secretly recorded when she was still a minor. She told the court that McCoy destroyed her childhood and left her angry and sad, the DOJ said.

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The second victim said McCoy sexually abused her from when she was 12 until she turned was 18, DOJ noted. The victim detailed the abuse and described suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety as a result of that abuse.

“Darren McCoy is the definition of a predator,” U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani said in a statement following the sentencing hearing. “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.”

The investigation into McCoy began on Nov. 30, 2019, when he was on a cruise ship that had docked at the Galveston Port of Entry. Authorities, having been made aware of a prior child pornography investigation in 2015 involving McCoy, subjected him to an inspection.

During this inspection, law enforcement discovered child pornography images on McCoy’s laptop, prompting them to seize additional electronic devices, including his phone, which contained numerous explicit images. Notably, authorities uncovered nine videos on a flash drive, which appeared to have been surreptitiously recorded with a hidden camera. These videos, believed to have been captured approximately a decade ago, depicted teenagers changing their clothes or showering in various locations, including a residential bathroom, a gym, and a hotel during a cheerleading competition. One of the victims featured in the footage was identified as a minor at the time of the recording.

Subsequent investigations led authorities to McCoy’s residence in McKinney, where they uncovered two covert recording devices. Overall, authorities seized a total of 10 videos and 290 images of child pornography from McCoy’s devices. Shockingly, his collection “included children between the ages of 1 and 8 in various stages of undress in a hospital, mortuary or morgue-type setting,” as DOJ described it.

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.