Coach Pleads Guilty to Having Child Porn

By Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 9, 2005

A former Springfield girls' soccer coach pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court to one count of possession of child pornography, admitting that his computer contained images of girls on the team that had been altered to look like they were engaging in sex acts with an adult male, prosecutors said.

Investigators found hundreds of pornographic images of children on the home computer of Christopher H. Allen, 36, of Fairfax, court documents said. Allen, a graphic designer, coached a soccer team for 10-year-old girls at the Springfield Youth Club in Springfield. He stopped coaching when investigators searched his house last year.

The pornography included images of girls ages 6 to 8 who were nude and in sexual poses, court documents said. A review of the computer's Internet history showed visits to Web sites that depicted naked teenage girls and images of rape.

There is no evidence that any of the images were distributed over the Internet, sources familiar with the case said. Only a "very, very small number" of girls from the soccer team were depicted, a law enforcement source said. The investigation is continuing.

Allen, who remains in custody, faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced Jan. 27 in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. One of his attorneys, Michael Nachmanoff, declined to comment.

When Allen's home was searched in July 2004, he told investigators that he had downloaded child pornography for several years "to satisfy his need for power,'' according to an affidavit filed in court by U.S. Postal Inspector Stephan P. Lear.

Allen attributed his interest in child pornography to a show he had seen on the subject on ABC News, the affidavit said. He said he became fascinated with "the seedy world of child pornography" and began searching for it on the Internet, the affidavit said.

It is unclear how long Allen coached soccer at the Springfield Youth Club. Officials at the club did not return telephone calls placed late yesterday.

Court documents said the investigation began in June 2004 when "a woman in Virginia" told postal inspectors that Allen possessed child pornography. The woman was not named, but law enforcement sources said she is Allen's wife.

The woman became concerned when she was using Allen's computer and saw a file with a strange name, court documents said. She opened the file, which pictured a girl about 4 years old in a pornographic pose. The woman confronted Allen about the picture, and "he became very nervous and started making excuses why the file was on his computer,'' according to the Postal Inspection Service affidavit.

He said that he had been downloading adult pornography and that the file of the child had gotten mixed in by mistake, the affidavit said. The woman, who is also a graphic designer, became concerned because Allen spent hours at his computer in the basement, closed the blinds so no one could watch and always cleared his computer's Internet history.

Allen was supposed to be working at the computer on revenue-generating projects for his business, "but no income was being generated,'' the affidavit said. The woman, concerned about the safety of Allen's children, contacted a postal inspector friend for advice. The information then reached Lear, who contacted the woman, he wrote. Allen was charged last month.

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