Buena Vista coach tied to international child porn ring - Waynesboro News Virginian: News

weather
Twitter Facebook RSS
Saturday, October 25, 2014

Buena Vista coach tied to international child porn ring

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 12:31 pm | Updated: 4:10 pm, Fri Jan 25, 2013.

4:59 p.m.

Buena Vista City Schools Superintendent Dr. Rebecca Gates tells WSLS's Karen McNew that no parents have contacted her regarding the investigation into Wheeler, and that student safety is her top priority.

Gates adds that there are counselors on call if needed, and so far no football players or students have asked to meet with a counselor.

THE INVESTIGATION

Dr. Gates says federal agents took computers and equipment from Parry McCluer High School, back on July 15th. Gates tells WSLS that she is still waiting to hear back from the feds on the results of their analysis, as well as the specific charges that Wheeler faces. Gates says the feds assured her that they will send documentation about the charges.

According to the USDOJ, all 72 U.S. suspects are charged with conspiring to advertise and distribute child porn.  50 of the suspects are also charged with engaging in a child pornography enterprise.

FOOTBALL IMPACT

Dr. Gates says Wheeler submitted a letter of resignation to the School Board, and the board accepted it on July 28th.

The football team has seen a larger number of athletes come out than in years past, according to Gates. She described that as "amazing" given all that has happened. Gates adds that the coaches have really jumped in to move things ahead.

-----

12:06 p.m.

Attorney General Eric Holder says the Justice Department (USDOJ) has filed charges against 72 people for taking part in an "international criminal network dedicated to the sexual abuse of children and the creation and dissemination of graphic images and videos of child sexual abuse throughout the world."

The charges come from the USDOJ's Operation Delego, which was launched in December of 2009. The operation targeted an internet message board called "Dreamboard." The message board was members-only in order to avoid detection by law enforcement, and used encrypted links to further avoid detection according to the USDOJ. The board's administrators also required prospective members to upload child porn, when applying for membership, the investigators allege.

Investigators believe the people charged in the case encouraged the creation of new pictures and videos of child sexual abuse. The children seen in the pictures and videos were often 12-years-old and younger, according to the USDOJ. The USDOJ says 52 of the 72 people charged have been arrested.

"The members of this criminal network shared a demented dream to create the preeminent online community for the promotion of child sexual exploitation but for the children they victimized, this was nothing short of a nightmare," said Attorney General Holder, in a news release. "This operation marks another important step forward in our work to protect children across - and beyond - this country. Our nation's fight to protect the rights, interests, and safety of children goes on, and it will continue to be a top priority of this Justice Department."

"The dismantling of Dreamboard is another stark warning to would-be child predators who think they can trade in child pornography and commit heinous acts against innocent children while hiding behind pseudonyms and other technological tricks," said ICE Director John Morton in the release.

----

11:31 a.m.

United States Attorney General Eric Holder announced Wednesday morning, federal charges in a child porn ring with international ties.

WSLS has learned that Matthew Wheeler, the now former Parry McCluer High School coach in Buena Vista, is among the group being charged in this case.

As WSLS first reported back on July 19th, Wheeler was arrested by agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and made an appearance in Roanoke Federal District Court back on July 18th.  The charges concern an internet message board, on which investigators say child porn was traded.

Buena Vista Schools Superintendent Dr. Rebecca Gates told WSLS that she was notified by federal law enforcement of their intent to arrest a teacher on felonies.  That teacher was suspended without pay, but Gates would not confirm that Wheeler was that teacher.  The U.S. Marshal's Service confirmed to WSLS that Wheeler was picked up by ICE agents.

As of July 28th, Wheeler was no longer being held at the Roanoke City Jail.  Marshals picked him up, but would not say where they were taking him.

The school system posted job openings at Parry McCluer High School for a head football coach and technology education teacher.  Wheeler majored in technology education at Virginia Tech, according to his Facebook page, and he is listed as a technology teacher on a teacher rating website.  This coming season was supposed to be Wheeler's first as Parry McCluer's head coach.

Attorney General Holder's news conference Wednesday coincided with the unsealing of court records in the case, which has been run out of in U.S. District Court in Louisiana.

Online poll

If the U.S. Senate election was held today, who would you vote for?

One of Virginia's two Senate seats is up for grabs this November, with the choices between incumbent Mark Warner, Republican challenger Ed Gillespie and Libertarian challenger Robert Sarvis.

Total Votes: 806

Loading…
Click to submit a letter to the editor
Come Experience Spring Creek for Yourself!
Come Experience Spring Creek for Yourself! Lifestyle. Convenience. Affordability. Grand opening of our NEW Clubhouse in August!
Free Estimate
Contact Craig Construction today for a FREE estimate!
Sale at Fantastic Sams!
Going on Now! Sale on all Fantastic Sam Line of Products! Stop in today!
Receive up to a $350 MasterCard prepaid card from Doug's Maytag!
Receive up to a $350 MasterCard prepaid card by mail with the purchase of a select Maytag brand laundry PAIR. 
5% OFF at Culpeper Window & Siding
5% OFF at Culpeper Window & Siding. (Cannot be combined with any other offer.)
All In One Can Recycling
All In One Can Recycling makes it EASY being green!  Locally owned, family run - Dixon Disposal.