(KMOV) – A former coach for a local high school girls track team pleaded guilty on Wednesday to trying to get child pornography.
Kurtis W. Neely, 32, used to coach at St. Joseph’s Academy in Frontenac. He pleaded guilty to talking about sexually explicit matters online with what he believed to be a 14-year-old girl.
The person he was actually talking to was a Maryland Heights police investigator.
Police also say they found child pornography on his computer.
Maryland Heights police frequently do Internet stings, and this case involved almost a year of Web chat room texting before police had enough evidence to make an arrest.
Neely was arrested in March of 2010 while he was the girls’ varsity track coach at St. Joseph’s Academy where he had been working for less than a year.
The president at St. Joseph’s Academy says the school fired Neely immediately after his arrest.
Police add that there is no evidence that Neely had any improper physical contact with the girls on the track team.
“[The] guy clearly has a sexual interest in children,” says Bill Carson of the Maryland Heights Police Department. “And if he has not acted out and done something with a child, the potential is there - so maybe we prevented something.”
Neely will spend at least five years in a federal prison, and his sentence could be as long as 20 years. He will also have to register as a sex offender, and he will be barred from ever being near a school again.