Coach guilty in pornography case

Images of children found in ex-gymnastics teacher's computer, videos

May 24, 2007|By Justin Fenton | Justin Fenton,Sun reporter

A former Baltimore County gymnastics teacher pleaded guilty yesterday in what federal prosecutors called one of Maryland's largest child pornography cases.

Patrick David Bogan, 41, an Edgewood resident who worked with children at a White Marsh gymnastics center, could receive a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison after admitting to acquiring child pornography through the mail and over the Internet.

Authorities were led to Bogan after he accessed an Internet file linked from an FBI-controlled computer while perusing a bulletin board that contained child pornography. Though the file contained no pornographic material, it allowed FBI agents to capture the Internet addresses of computers that attempted to download the file.

On March 2, agents searched Bogan's home and an off-site storage unit, recovering more than 800 videotapes of child pornography and child erotica. A search of his computer hard drive turned up numerous folders containing "countless" images that had been painstakingly organized, prosecutors said.

Agents also recovered 21 pairs of girls underpants from his bedroom, magazines showing children having sex with men, and books and newspaper articles about pedophilia and child abduction. In charging documents, Bogan likened the images to collecting stamps and told authorities that he is "fascinated by little girls."

A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in Maryland said authorities continue to investigate allegations of child sex abuse involving Bogan.

"Mr. Bogan's case was a top priority for our office because he worked with so many children in his job as a gymnastics instructor" at Baltimore County Gymnastics in White Marsh, said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein in a news release. "We expect this investigation to result in many more prosecutions."

Bogan had been a coach for 11 years at Baltimore County Gymnastics, working with children age 5 to 15. The center was founded 25 years ago with about 30 children in an elementary school and has grown to more than 700 children in recreational and competitive teams that practice in a 12,000-square-foot facility on Allender Road.

The co-owner of the gym called the arrest "shocking," and Bogan was fired the day of his arrest.

Charging documents did not indicate that any of the pornography possessed by Bogan depicts children from the center.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in February 2006 to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.

"It is heartbreaking to think about the thousands of children who are victimized to produce child pornography and the many child molesters who draw encouragement from people who collect and trade pictures and videos of abused children," Rosenstein said.

As part of Bogan's plea agreement, prosecutors are asking U.S. District Judge William M. Nickerson for a 6 1/2 -year sentence in federal prison. Sentencing is set for Aug. 9.

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