Former University of South Carolina assistant soccer coach Roberto “Bert” Molinary Jr. pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to possessing child pornography obtained over the Internet.
Molinary, 50, will be sentenced at a later date. He could receive up to 10 years in prison under a plea agreement with federal prosecutors.
It was a co-worker’s tip to university officials that led to a SLED and FBI investigation that resulted in Molinary’s guilty plea, assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Day told U.S. Judge Mary Lewis in a hearing at the U.S. federal courthouse in Columbia.
The co-worker, an assistant coach, had observed pornography on Molinary’s school laptop and told school officials, Day told the judge. At the time, Molinary was a trainer for USC’s men’s soccer team.
University officials confronted Molinary about the pornography on his laptop, and Molinary resigned. Then school officials turned the computer over to the State Law Enforcement Division agents, who found Skype Internet conversations that Molinary, pretending to be a 16-year-old male, had had with underage females, Day told the judge.
Law enforcement agents then executed a search warrant on Molinary’s home, where they found pornographic images of minors under 12 that the ex-coach had gotten over the Internet and were on his home computer, Day told the judge.
One of Molinary’s lawyers, Josh Kendrick, declined comment Wednesday.
Molinary worked as an assistant on the USC men’s soccer coaching staff from 2005 to 2012, when he resigned, USC officials said.
Molinary also was a recruiting coordinator at USC. A 1984 graduate of Spring Valley High, Molinary before joining USC was head coach at Hampden-Sydney College, a private, liberal arts college for men in Virginia. He also was head coach for the 1992, 1994 and 1996 South Carolina boys Olympic development team.
Two other child sex-related charges against Molinary were dropped in return for his guilty plea.