Children’s softball coach arrested on child pornography complaints in Cleveland County

A children’s softball coach from Norman has been arrested on child pornography complaints after a months-long investigation.

Court documents show that the tips on this case actually came from Google. The Cybertip reported that child pornography was uploaded to a Google+ photo account, according to the documents.

The officer said the Google+ profile was linked to Mark Lee Simpson, of Norman. According to the probable cause affidavit, Simpson had been arrested on May 30 and officers linked his phone number and address to social media sites. Officers searched Simpson’s house on July 14, according to documents. Detectives found three thumb drives and a laptop during the execution of the search warrant.

Officers said Simpson admitted there was child pornography on the thumb drives.

An officer said 32 images on the thumb drives were clearly identified as child pornography.

A source confirmed to KOCO that Simpson is a softball coach for a youth team in Cleveland County.

Simpson was booked into the Cleveland County Detention Center Tuesday afternoon. His bond was set at $30,000.

Billy Brewer, the sports and special events coordinator for the City of Norman, sent the following letter to parents:

As you all know, Mr. Mark Simpson coached the Pink Dynamites softball team last summer.  On September 18, 2015, Mr. Simpson was charged with possession of child pornography.  Our review of the matter indicates the following:

On June 19, 2015, the Norman Police Department received four Cybertips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and subsequently traced the IP address to Mark Lee Simpson.  A search warrant for Mr. Simpson’s residence was executed on July 14, 2015, and child pornography was found on thumb drives and a laptop that belonged to Mr. Simpson.  On Friday, September 18, 2015, Mr. Simpson was charged with two felony counts of possession of child pornography.  The Norman Police Department has determined that none of the images are of local children. 

The Parks and Recreation Department conducts background checks on all head coaches.  The list of disqualifiers includes, “Any Sex Offense – Regardless of the amount of time since offense,” and it is recommended that anyone who has been charged with any of the disqualifying offenses or for cases pending in court should not be permitted to volunteer until the official adjudication of the case.

Mr. Simpson’s background check was conducted in early May 2015.  At that time, Mr. Simpson had not been charged with possession of child pornography and there were no other offenses that disqualified him from coaching.  If the September 18, 2015, charges were pending when Mr. Simpson’s background was checked, he would not have been permitted to coach.  If Mr. Simpson is subsequently convicted of possessing child pornography, he will be permanently disqualified from coaching in any of the City’s youth leagues.

I want to assure you that the safety of your children is of the utmost importance to us.  We regret that this incident has occurred and want to assure you that had we had any indication that Mr. Simpson was involved in this type of behavior we would not have allowed him to be involved in our program.  If any of you would like to discuss this matter further you may call me at 366-5476.