A federal grand jury has indicted former University of Richmond men's tennis coach Steven Gerstenfeld on charges of receiving child pornography, the second scandal in as many weeks to hit the university's athletics department.
Authorities with the U.S. attorney's office in Richmond said Tuesday that Gerstenfeld, 47, used a PayPal account from October 2006 to March 2007 to subscribe to at least six member-restricted Web sites that were distributing child pornography. During those transactions, authorities said he provided his university e-mail address to PayPal.
On Oct. 23, 2007, investigators with the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, the FBI, and the University of Richmond Police Department seized Gerstenfeld's computer after obtaining a federal search warrant. An analysis showed evidence of images of child pornography, authorities said.
Bob Black, spokesman for the university's athletics department, declined to comment beyond confirming that Gerstenfeld was no longer an employee at the university. The Spiders introduced 29-year-old Billy Boykin as men's tennis head coach on July 31.
Gerstenfeld's attorney, Debra Corcoran, said it was wrong for the U.S. attorney's office in Richmond to publicize the charges.
"Mr. Gerstenfeld is innocent," Corcoran said. "And the last time I checked, somebody is presumed innocent until proven guilty. I don't think there should be a media press storm because of someone's misfortune."
She declined to give details about the trial process or comment further on the investigation. A message left for Gerstenfeld on his cell phone seeking comment was not returned Thursday.
A phone message left Tim Mihalcoe, an investigator at the university police department, was not immediately returned Wednesday.
It was not immediately clear when Gerstenfeld left the university or whether he was fired, or resigned. Carl Sorensen, associate vice president for human resources, declined to comment in an e-mail message and said he could not disclose employee information.
As of Wednesday, Gerstenfeld was enrolled in a sports management class at Virginia Commonwealth University, according to an official at Virginia Commonwealth University, who requested anonymity because of the nature of the allegations.
Gerstenfeld faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, and a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The incident is the second scandal in two weeks for the athletics department. Last week, athletics officials announced that two former basketball coaches -- one with the men's program and one with the women's program -- sent hundreds of text messages to recruits and made more than the allowable number of phone calls to certain recruits, both violations of NCAA rules.
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Officials are waiting for the NCAA's sanctions, which are expected to come within the next three weeks.
Contact staff writer Dan Petty at firstname.lastname@example.org
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