A former coach at a prestigious Houston, Texas, high school has been arrested and charged with five counts of felony possession of child pornography.
Gordon Oehmig, who was once honored as "Coach of the Year" at St. Thomas, an all-boys Catholic school, allegedly had more than 1,500 images and 900 videos of sexually explicit scenes involving children as young as 1 on his home computer, according to police documents.
However, Houston Police spokesman J.T. Roscoe gave slightly different numbers in a press conference, saying there were 1,600 images and 550 videos on Oehmig's computer, according to KRIV.
Police said the media found on the 29-year-old wrestling and football coach's computer focused on young males, pre-pubescent boys and even toddlers. Authorities said there is an "elevated concern" surrounding the accusations against Oehmig, due to his work with teenage boys, KTRK reports.
"We believe he has a strong sexual interest in children," Roscoe said, "Unfortunately, a sport such as wrestling allows for a lot of hands-on contact."
Parents of St. Thomas students interviewed by KHOU appeared deeply disturbed by the allegations, although there is no evidence that Oehmig touched any minors. Marty Ross, a former baseball coach at St. Thomas, said he wasn't surprised by the news.
"In today's society, no, it's not shocking, unfortunately," Ross told KHOU. "It's everywhere."
St. Thomas released a statement saying there was no evidence so far that any of the child porn involved students at the school. This conviction was echoed in a statement by the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, KTRK reports.
Oehmig resigned from his position at St. Thomas following his arrest Oct. 18. He was also once an assistant wrestling coach at Episcopal High School and a volunteer wrestling coach at a Houston training gym.
According to court documents, police traced child pornography to the IP address of Oehmig's home computer. Police allege that the former coach actively shared and distributed child porn on the Internet. He could face 50 years in prison if convicted.
A 2009 Houston Chronicle article called Oehmig a "perfect model for his athletes," because of his accomplishments as a student athlete.
This is not the first time this year a coach has faced child porn charges. In August, the head football coach at Minnesota State University was accused of creating child pornography when nude videos of his children were found on his phone, according to the New York Daily News.
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