OMAHA, Neb. - A former youth softball coach was sentenced Tuesday to five years in federal prison for receiving child pornography. The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Joe W. Stecher, District of Nebraska, and Bill Wallrapp, resident agent in charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Investigations in Omaha.
Michael Govig, 45, formerly of LaVista, Neb., was sentenced by the U.S. District Judge Laurie A. Smith Camp to 60 months in federal prison. After he serves his prison sentence, Govig will begin a 5-year term of supervised release.
In 2007, ICE agents initiated the investigation into a business running commercial child pornography websites. The agents discovered numerous subscribers throughout the United States and abroad, including Govig. Govig had been a softball coach at Papillion-La Vista High School before resigning last summer to take an assistant coach position at Creighton University in Omaha.
ICE executed a search warrant at Govig's LaVista residence in September. Forensic anaysis of his seized computers revealed about 500 images and 35 videos of explicit child pornography. Many of the images and three of the videos depicted known, identifiable minors. During the execution of the search warrant, Govig admitted to subscribing to child pornography websites.
"Identifying those who sexually exploit children is one of our primary missions," said Bill Wallrapp. "Unfortunately, the advent of technologies such as the Internet has increased accessibility to child pornography. ICE, however, is able to use these same technologies to identify and catch these predators."
"The aggressive investigation of child pornography cases by ICE and other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies is appreciated by the U. S. Attorney's Office and a benefit to our community," said Joe Stecher, U.S. Attorney for the District of Nebraska.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 11,000 individuals, including more than 140 in Nebraska.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.