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Crime

Columbia assistant coach accused of distributing child pornography

Boone County Sheriff's Office

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

An assistant soccer and basketball coach at Hickman High School was arrested and charged Thursday with allegedly having and distributing child pornography.

Online records show Benjamin Melvin, 25, was being held Friday in the Boone County Jail without bond.

Prosecutors charged Melvin on Thursday with possession of child pornography and second-degree promotion of child pornography. Sheriff's deputies arrested him the same day.

A Columbia Public Schools spokeswoman said the district was notified of the arrest Thursday and immediately placed Melvin on leave and took away his access to school facilities and records. The district also contacted families of athletes on the teams Melvin helped coach, spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said.

Assistant coaches are not salaried employees but receive stipends for their work, Baumstark said.

The Boone County Sheriff's Office posted information about the arrest on Facebook. According to the post, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children sent a tip to the sheriff's Cyber Crimes Task Force in June.

Court documents say the missing child clearinghouse received a complaint from Discord, an online messaging platform, in May. Discord reported that a user uploaded a video suspected to be child pornography.

The Cyber Crimes Task Force said the video showed what appeared to be a boy between 12 and 14 years old engaging in sexual acts.

According to a probable cause statement, the task force used an IP address provided by Discord to locate Melvin's home in Columbia. Deputies said Melvin admitted to creating the Discord account and sharing the illicit video on the platform.

In addition, deputies say they seized a cellphone from Melvin, on which forensic experts allegedly found another video containing child pornography.

Online court records show Melvin is scheduled for an initial arraignment Friday at 1 p.m.

Boone / Child Abuse / Columbia / Local News / News / Sexual / Top Stories
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Molly Stawinoga

Molly Stawinoga is ABC 17’s weekday morning anchor and a reporter at ABC 17 News. Molly joined the news team in 2017 while studying political science, journalism and Spanish at the University of Missouri. She is originally from DeKalb, Illinois.

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.

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