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The Region

Former Coach Guilty in Porn Case

The Thousand Oaks man, caught in a federal sting, admits to possessing hundreds of images of children engaged in sexual acts.

January 02, 2003|Holly J. Wolcott | Times Staff Writer

A former Thousand Oaks diving coach who was the only Ventura County resident caught in a massive federal sting against online obscenity has pleaded guilty to possessing hundreds of images of child pornography.

William Glinton Douglas, 45, who is free on $150,000 bail, is one of five area coaches or teachers charged last year with sex crimes against children. Besides Douglas, three others have pleaded guilty and one awaits trial.

Attorneys on both sides of Douglas' case declined to comment this week, pending his sentencing Feb. 27. But both lawyers said Douglas was not charged with actual contact with children.

Douglas pleaded guilty this week to a felony charge of possessing child pornography with the intent to distribute it and to three misdemeanor counts of possessing child porn.

He pleaded guilty to every charge in the original criminal complaint, authorities said.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Howard Wise, an expert in computer crimes, said at the time of Douglas' arrest in September that investigators found hundreds of suggestive photos and video images in his home computer, many showing images of naked boys and girls engaged in sexual activity.

Authorities also found more child porn in his van.

None of the evidence seized suggested Douglas molested students or swimmers involved with Dive Thousand Oaks, a private diving club he ran at the time, authorities said.

Douglas, a part-time employee of the Conejo Unified School District since 1988, also worked at Newbury Park and Agoura high schools last spring. He no longer works for any of the schools.

With his guilty pleas, Douglas faces up to 16 months in prison and will be required to register as a sex offender upon his release. His attorney, Brian Vogel, said that will permanently end Douglas' work with children.

"There will have to be a drastic change in employment," said Vogel, a deputy public defender. If he had gone to trial and been convicted, Douglas could have faced 16 years in prison.

Douglas was one of dozens of people arrested across the country as part of an FBI case called Operation Candyman.

Douglas and others were members of an online chat group that catered to people interested in child pornography. Scores of people were arrested in March, and follow-up investigation of those cases led authorities to Douglas.

The federal investigation was triggered when an FBI agent spotted a Web page that offered: "This group is for people who love kids. You can post any type of messages you like too or any type of pics and vids you like too."

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