Assistant Coach Hickman Arrested for Child Pornography | Local


A Hickman High School assistant coach was arrested Thursday on charges of the felony of promoting and possessing child pornography.

Benjamin Melvin, 25, was arrested after a detective from the Boone County Sheriff’s Office watched a video showing a naked boy between the ages of 12 and 14. Further investigation revealed additional videos of children around 14 years old.

Melvin was an assistant coach for boys’ football and basketball at Hickman, said Michelle Baumstark, spokesperson for Columbia Public Schools.

Assistant coaches are not salaried employees, she said. They receive a small allowance for training during a particular sporting season. Allowances vary from $ 500 to $ 2,000, depending on the sport and the number of coaches.

Melvin’s first coaching assignment dates back to 2018, and he has now been placed on administrative leave pending further investigation. He no longer has access to schools, students and records, Baumstark said.

Immediately after Thursday’s arrest, a letter was sent to parents of student athletes on teams Melvin has coached, she said. The soccer season is already underway this summer.

The letter told parents that the assistant coach had been arrested and that steps had been taken to prevent further interaction with the school and students.

“Security plans and practices are in place for our students and staff, including our strong partnership with local law enforcement and comprehensive background checks of all hires,” the letter said.

The letter went on to tell parents that the district is cooperating fully with law enforcement and continues to monitor the situation, taking further action if necessary. School counselors have been made available to students, according to the letter.

According to a probable cause statement, Andy Evans of the Boone County Sheriff’s Office Cybercrime Task Force said he received a tip July 1 from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

The online platform Discord had reported a suspicious video on its site. Using an IP address provided by Discord, the task force was able to track down the suspect’s address.

Melvin admitted to setting up the Discord account and uploading a video of a naked male under 18 to his personal laptop. He also admitted to sharing the video on Discord.

Cyber ​​Task Force investigators also found evidence on his cell phone in his house.

Melvin’s arraignment has been set for Friday afternoon.

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