Youth soccer coach indicted on child pornography charges

A man who coached an American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) girls team in Long Beach has been indicted on federal charges of possessing and distributing child pornography. 

Robert “Bob” Warden Phillips, 65, pleaded not guilty to the charges when he was arraigned last week. Phillips, who was released on $50,000 bail, will have to return to court in March when his trial begins.

When investigators searched Phillips' home last year, they found two computers and a thumb drive that contained child pornography images, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

In the fall of 2014, Phillips, who lives in Lake Forest, coached 12- to 14-year-old girls on an AYSO team in Long Beach. 

Investigators found records of online chats in which Phillips fantasized about young female soccer players and talked about molesting young girls, according to the release.

There is currently no evidence that he molested any of his players, according to the release, though investigators say they think there could be victims in the case who haven't yet been identified.

“This case is particularly disturbing given the defendant’s former position as a coach and his close contact with children,” said Joseph Macias, special agent for Homeland Security Investigations, an arm of the Department of Homeland Security, in Los Angeles.

AYSO, a national nonprofit with headquarters in Torrance and more than 500,000 players nationwide, could not be reached for comment.

The charges against Phillips, which include three felony counts of possession and three counts of distribution of child pornography, come from a probe by the Orange County Child Exploitation Task Force. If convicted of all six charges, Phillips could face a maximum of 90 years in prison. 

The task force, which is made up of local law enforcement officers and FBI agents, began investigating Phillips when it received several tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that an email address that traced back to him was associated with sexually explicit images of minors.  

Follow @skarlamangla on Twitter for more L.A. news.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
58°