The Lee’s Summit man accused in federal court of attempting to produce child pornography may have fallen through the cracks after pleading guilty to a lesser charge steaming from a ‘peeping Tom’ incident in Kansas, but the resulting fallout has not caused the Lee’s Summer Soccer Association to change its background screening procedures as previously reported in other media outlets.
Joel D. White, 40, of the 1700 block of S.E. Seventh Terrace, was indicted by a federal grand jury April 30 on additional charges related to producing child pornography by secretly videotaping members of his youth soccer team.
White was charged in a three-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, which replaced a federal criminal complaint that was filed against him April 23. White, who coached a girls under-12 soccer team and a girls under-15 soccer team through the Lee’s Summit Soccer Association, remains in federal custody.
The Lee’s Summit Soccer Association, which has cooperated fully with law enforcement officials during the investigation, said White was vetted by outside sources the organization uses for background checks and his screening came back clean despite a guilty plea for trespassing in Kansas.
According to online court records in Johnson County, Kan., White was charged in 2007 with eavesdropping after allegedly secretly videotaping a young woman inside a tanning salon. That charge was later amended to criminal trespassing and White was sentenced to six months in jail before being placed on probation for one year. Records show White’s probation in Johnson County ended in September of 2010.
“Members of the Executive Board met (recently) to discuss existing background check processes involving volunteer parents/coaches,” LSSA President Ron Cox said in a letter to fellow LSSA members. “The purpose of the meeting was to determine if there were any issues in our current system and if so, what immediate action, if any, we can take to improve our current processes. Conclusion – after meeting with law enforcement experts and others it was determined that proper screening was utilized…
“Earlier this month we reached an agreement with Lee’s Summit Parks and Recreation and ALL other youth associations in Lee’s Summit (baseball, softball, football, basketball, etc) to utilize a centralized database as of July 1, 2013. This additional step will allow us to share ALL volunteers’ parents/coaches information once they are properly screened and approved to work with children. If a background check reveals concerns, or questions, the association will meet with the applicant and the expert/consultant to determine eligibility.”
Reached via email May 2, Cox reiterated the organization handled White’s screening in the appropriate manner and insists the organization’s change in the screening process wasn’t done in response to an on-going or previous investigation, but as a way to improve efficiencies and consistencies.
“T he fact is LSSA does not do internal background checks on our recreational volunteer coaches,” Cox said. “We have always used an outside organization to perform those services because they are the experts and trained better than our volunteers. For the past 20 years we’ve used the Missouri Department of Family Services to perform these checks for LSSA. We base our recommendation to allow mothers and fathers to work with kids based on the parents passing the state’s screening process. The state uses all the information provided to them by the authorities to recommend approval or denial. The evaluation process involves checks to see if the mother or father has convictions stemming from offenses against minors.”
The latest charges against White allege that he attempted to use three child victims – identified in the indictment as Jane Doe No. 1, Jane Doe No. 2 and Jane Doe No. 3 – to produce child pornography between May 1, 2012 and March 20, 2013. Each of the three counts contained in the indictment carries a mandatory minimum sentence upon conviction of 15 years in federal prison without parole.
Under Department of Justice guidelines, the attempted production of child pornography is ordinarily charged in cases that involve surreptitious recordings. The statutory penalties for producing child pornography are the same as the penalties for attempting to produce child pornography.
According to an affidavit filed in support of the original criminal complaint, law enforcement officers in Commerce City, Colo. discovered videos of nude minors on White’s camera. White was at a soccer stadium in Colorado last month for a World Cup qualifying game when the cameras were seized by law enforcement officers as part of a criminal investigation.
Several videos allegedly depict White positioning a video camera in a bedroom of his residence in such a way that the camera is hidden. Shortly after White leaves the room, the affidavit says, the videos depict several minors, approximately 11 or 12 years old, entering the room and changing their clothes. Minors are fully nude in the videos and do not appear to know they are being videotaped.
White allegedly told police that he videotaped nude minors 10 to 15 times without their consent from May to October 2012. According to the affidavit, at least four child victims have been identified so far in the investigation.