May 2 (UPI) -- Former Iowa AAU youth basketball coach Greg Stephen, who solicited explicit photos from more than 400 boys over a 20-year period, was sentenced to 180 years in prison.
U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams announced the sentence Thursday at the U.S. District Courthouse in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
"This is a horrendous offense," Williams said in the courtroom. "He exploited, manipulated and abused children for almost two decades."
Williams said the harm to the victims was "incalculable and profound" and an effective life term was warranted.
Stephen, 43, of Monticello, Iowa, was the former coach and co-director of the Iowa Barnstormers and worked with Iowa's most promising youth basketball players. A majority of the high school seniors he coached eventually earned athletic scholarships to play at universities such as Iowa, Wisconsin and Northern Iowa.
Stephen pleaded guilty last October to five counts of sexual exploitation of a child and to possessing and transporting child pornography. According to the plea agreement, he used the identities of three teenage girls to coerce the players into sending sexually explicit images or videos. He built a digital collection of more than 400 folders on an external hard drive.
Stephen, along with program founder Jamie Johnson, launched the Barnstormers in 2005. For the next 13 years, Stephen served in his role with the program, which includes boys and girls teams as young as fourth grade for boys.