FORT WAYNE – A 25-year-old Fort Wayne youth hockey coach has been arrested on federal charges related to the distribution of child pornography.
Michael C. Wenger, of the 1700 block of Carlow Court, was arrested this week on a federal complaint charging him with distributing child pornography and possessing child pornography.
According to officials with Fort Wayne Youth Hockey, Wenger was an active coach in their leagues three to four years, leaving for this upcoming season to take a coaching position with Bishop Dwenger High Schools club hockey team.
John Bennett, Dwenger athletic director, declined to comment on the arrest, citing a policy of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend prohibiting comment on personnel matters.
However, an online social network posting announcing Wengers hiring in June has been deleted.
According to federal court documents, the FBIs Indianapolis Cyber Crime Task Force was investigating computer downloads of child pornography on a peer-to-peer file sharing network. The IP address of the computer downloading the images was linked to a house on Carlow Court belonging to another man.
Federal agents and local law enforcement officers began watching the house and noticed a dark Pontiac Aztek leaving the house at various times, according to court documents.
The SUV was registered to Wenger, with an address on Stellhorn Road, according to court documents.
Agents obtained a search warrant for the Carlow Court home and searched it on Tuesday, seizing computers, cameras and other equipment. One of the computers belonged to Wenger, the other to the man who lived at the home.
On the other mans computer, investigators found no child pornography. But on Wengers computer, investigators found about 40 videos and 60 still photographs depicting child pornography, according to court documents.
When they questioned Wenger, he told investigators he had been using the file sharing network for about a year, with approximately 20 friends on the network, according to court documents. He admitted to using the network about once a day for child pornography activities and had downloaded child pornography about a week ago, according to court documents.
Wenger told the agents he has made the images he has downloaded available on the network for others to download as well, according to court documents.
When contacted about Wengers arrest, officials at Fort Wayne Youth Hockey expressed shock at the allegations.
Rick Wynn, the president of Fort Wayne Youth Hockeys board, said the organization does complete background checks on all coaches and volunteers – anyone who comes into contact with the children and teens in the league.
Wenger has no apparent criminal record in Allen County, according to court documents.
No one with any red flags at all comes into contact with the organizations players, Wynn said Thursday.
And there have been no allegations of impropriety against Wenger, Wynn said.
According to USA Hockeys website, Wenger has an active coaching license, issued in 2009 with no expiration date.