NewsLocal News

Actions

Former Henrico little league coach operated child porn website from West End home

Posted at 7:46 PM, Jul 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-17 06:54:39-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A man who coached children at Tuckahoe Little League in the 1980s pleaded guilty to operating a child porn website 30 years later during a trial in federal court Thursday. There was no indication any of Noland Harper's victims were local children or that he was involved with child pornography while coaching youth baseball.

The FBI arrested Harper,61,  in March as he uploaded child porn in the bedroom of his Edinborough Square home in western Henrico.

"Two dozen (FBI agents) came with the search warrant and then they came five days later and arrested him," recalled Harper’s neighbors Dick and Anne Bell.

Detectives said it was a tip 2,300 miles away in Las Vegas that claimed Harper was operating a child pornography website. Police got the tip when a Nevada officer pulled over a man referred to as W.T. That man had two boys in his vehicle. He exchanged information with police, and of the three numbers he gave out, one matched Harper’s phone here in Richmond.

“It’s just terrible,” Anne Bell said.

It was just as difficult when the Bell’s learned their neighbor was in the middle of uploading child porn on his bedroom computer, at the time detectives arrived at his door.

During the search, Harper told investigators he started collecting child pornography after he stopped coaching youth sports approximately 10 years ago, according to court documents.

The documents also indicated that Harper said he missed the physical company of young children and that he was sexually attracted to young boys. He also said he “coached for 34 years, all of a sudden they were gone and he has no wife.”

“It was just unbelievable that something like this could happen in our neighborhood,” Dick and Anne Bell said, who recalled Harper as a Tuckahoe Little League coach in the 1980s.

Things have returned to normal in the Henrico community months after his arrest.  However, neighbors said what happened stands as a prime example that you never truly know what’s happening behind closed doors.

“We knew he was a loner, but we never thought anything like this,” said Anne Bell.

“It is absolutely imperative that we arrest the problem where it is,” Ian Danielson with the Greater Richmond SCAN– child advocacy center said.

Danielson isn’t connected to the Harper case, but said viewing child porn is never a victimless crime.

“Some people buy into the myth that the perpetrator of internet crimes is just looking at images, when they are actually looking at a child who has been hurt and very, very traumatized,” Danielson said.

According to the affidavit obtained by CBS 6, Harper admitted to leaving the Commonwealth and flying to “California three times in the past year to meet up with underage boys.”

Harper conspired with three other adult males to sexually abuse three juvenile victims, photograph the abuse, and then distribute the photos to other individuals over the Internet. In 2014, Harper traveled from Richmond to Desert Hot Springs, California on three separate occasions where he rendezvoused with the coconspirators who were residents of California and Arizona.

While there, Harper and the others met up with the three minor boys, all of whom were under 16-years-old, including two who were 11-years-old, and sexually abused them, which included engaging in various sexual acts.

During these trips, Harper took the boys to the beach, Disneyland, and the house of a coconspirator in Arizona, where he bought various gifts for the victims to induce them to pose for sexually explicit photographs.

Harper would subsequently upload the sexually explicit images to a website from his Henrico residence and distribute them to willing recipients.

Law enforcement initially detected Harper after one of the enterprise participants was arrested in California on outstanding warrants for child exploitation offenses.

Evidence recovered from that arrest revealed that the arrestee was in possession of credit cards in Harper’s name, that he was in constant contact with Harper’s cell phone number, and that $10,000 had recently flowed through a bank account in both Harper’s and the arrestee’s name.

Harper faces a mandatory 20 years in prison, with a maximum sentence of life in prison. He returns to court on October 9 for sentencing.