Former cheerleading coach, registered sex offender sentenced to 9 years in prison for sexually exploiting children

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Photo Source: FBI

SEATTLE – Special Agent in Charge Brad Bench of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Seattle Field Office and U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran announced today that a former cheerleading coach, who has a prior state conviction for possession of child pornography, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to nine years in prison for transporting child pornography. Leonard Bernard Lewis, 33, of Seattle, pleaded guilty in February 2019, admitting that he transported images of child rape and abuse on his personal electronic devices when he traveled from Seattle to London on March 1, 2018. U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour imposed ten years of supervised release to follow the prison term.

According to records filed in the case, Lewis was traveling to England to continue his career as a cheer coach. When he arrived and attempted to clear customs at Gatwick Airport, a United Kingdom Border Force Officer asked to examine Lewis’ cell phone. After being given the password, the officer found several images of child pornography. The cell phone, two laptop computers and Lewis’ PlayStation 4 were seized by law enforcement and Lewis was detained. Lewis was sent back to the U.S. the next day, and his electronic devices were delivered to HSI. Forensic examination of Lewis’ electronic devices revealed more than 5,000 images and 2,000 video files of child pornography.

The investigation determined that despite his These sex offender status, which prohibited him from working with children, Lewis had been employed at a local gymnastics facility. Between 2016 and 2018, Lewis was employed as a cheer coach at the gym. Lewis had used a relative’s Social Security Number so that the facilities’ background check did not reveal Lewis’ registered sex offender status. Lewis has been a registered sex offender since 2012 when he was convicted of possession of child pornography.

“I could not be more proud of the HSI agents and dedicated law enforcement professionals who worked to bring this dangerous child predator to justice,” said Brad Bench, special agent in charge of HSI Seattle. “We continue to work daily to keep individuals who seek to harm children out of our communities and away from those they seek to abuse.”
As Special Assistant United States Attorney Cecelia Gregson wrote in her sentencing memo, despite his earlier conviction Lewis continued to seek out images of child rape and abuse and “to engage in conduct that undoubtedly supported an industry thriving on the sexual exploitation and misery of children.”

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