An assistant coach at Hickman High School was arrested Thursday on felony charges of promoting and possessing child pornography.
Benjamin Melvin, 25, was arrested after a detective with the Boone County Sheriff's Office watched a video showing a nude boy between the ages of 12 and 14. Further investigation revealed additional videos of children around 14 years of age.
Melvin was an assistant coach for soccer and boys basketball at Hickman, said Michelle Baumstark, spokesperson for Columbia Public Schools.
Melvin's first coaching assignment was in 2018, and he has now been put on administrative leave pending further investigation. He no longer has access to schools, students and records, Baumstark said.
Immediately after Thursday's arrest, a letter was sent to parents of student athletes on the teams Melvin coached, she said. The soccer season is already underway this summer.
The letter told parents that the assistant coach had been arrested and that steps had been taken to prevent any further interactions with the school and students.
"Safety plans and practices are in place for our students and staff, including our strong partnership with local law enforcement and comprehensive background checks for all hires," the letter read.
The letter continued by telling parents that the district was cooperating fully with law enforcement and continues to monitor the situation, taking further actions as necessary. School counselors have been made available to students, according to the letter.
According to a probable cause statement, Andy Evans of the Boone County Sheriff's Office Cyber Crimes Task Force said he received a tip July 1 from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
The online platform Discord had reported a suspicious video on its site. Using an IP address provided by Discord, the task force was able track down the address to the suspect.
Melvin admitted to creating the Discord account and uploading a video of a nude male under the age of 18 on his personal laptop. He also admitted to sharing the video on Discord.
Cyber Task Force investigators also found evidence on his cell phone in his house.
Melvin's arraignment was set for Friday afternoon.