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Child Exploitation
01/31/2019

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Indiana high school swim coach sentenced to nearly 17 years in federal prison for sexually exploiting student athlete

INDIANAPOLIS — A swim coach with Carmel (Indiana) High School and Carmel Swim Club was sentenced Wednesday to 200 months in federal prison after he admitted to sexually exploiting one of his student athletes.

This sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler, Southern District of Indiana.  This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Hamilton County (Indiana) Metro Child Exploitation Task Force.

John Goelz, 30, exploited his position of trust and authority with one of his student athletes, a minor, for his own sexual gratification.

“Sexual exploitation is one of the most depraved crimes committed against humanity, and this case is especially disturbing given Goelz’s position of trust,” said Special Agent in Charge James M. Gibbons, HSI Chicago. “This sentence serves as a reminder that HSI is committed to collaborating with its community partners to bring to justice those who exploit children.” 

From at least September 2017 through June 30, 2018, Goelz first built the victim’s trust as her coach and confidant, and then began enticing the victim to engage in sexual acts with him.  

During that time, Goelz contacted the victim via text messages and other messaging applications that concealed the conversations to arrange sexual encounters at locations, such as Goelz’s residence, community parks and motels.

On June 30, 2018, Goelz used his cellphone to take videos of the victim engaging in sexual activity with him at a motel room in Anderson, Indiana.

Two video files, along with multiple images, were recovered by federal investigators on Goelz’s cellphone after the execution of a search warrant, depicting the victim engaging in oral sex with Goelz.  Computer evidence showed that the video files were filmed with Goelz’s phone.

“Today’s sentence sends a strong message to those whom we put trust in to supervise and coach our children, that this behavior is illegal and those who take advantage of our children will face real consequences,” said U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler, Southern District of Indiana. “Protecting our youth from sexual predators will always remain a top priority of this office.”

“This is yet another example of a selfish and criminal act on the part of an individual who took advantage of a position of authority over a child,” said Lt. Cameron Ellison, Hamilton County (Indiana) Metro Child Exploitation Task Force. “Cases involving adults in such positions have become far too common in our society. Each member of our community should take note of these cases, commit to remaining off the sidelines, and communicate with law enforcement when these types of abuses are suspected. It was a community tip that led to the investigation, arrest and prosecution in this case. Law enforcement and prosecutorial authorities, at all levels, will continue to work together when such allegations are made. We will work together, with laser focus, to first protect our children, then to investigate these crimes and separate the individuals responsible from our children and society.”

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney MaryAnn T. Mindrum, Southern District of Indiana, who prosecuted this case, Goelz must also serve 10 years of supervised release after he completes his prison sentence.

This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 16,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child exploitation material, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2017, more than 2,700 child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 900 victims identified or rescued.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page. HSI is a founding member of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 01/31/2019