[UPDATED with Not Guilty Plea:] Robert Vincent Peace, Youth Soccer Coach, Accused of Possessing Child Porn
The judge set Peace's bail to $500,000.
He faces up to 25 years and two months in state prison if convicted on all the charges.
UPDATE, JAN. 24, 5:50 P.M.: In a letter today to the FC Blades, Technical Director Tim Woodcock outs the team accused child pornography hoarder Robert Vincent Peace spent four years coaching before a three-month stint with the Blades' Boys Under 13 team in Irvine.
Woodcock identifies that team as the "Laguna Beach Eclipse," which I can't find a listing for. However, there is a Laguna Hills Eclipse Soccer Club which has previously employed coaches who, like Peace pictured at right, are from the United Kingdom.
Meanwhile, in Woodcock's full letter below, he discloses that "the current status of all FC Blades coaches" will be re-checked "through the criminal databases and Megan's Law databases to ensure nothing has fallen through the cracks":
Dear FC Blades member:
By now you may have seen the news reports about a former FC Blades coach who has been arrested for possessing child pornography. Robert Peace briefly worked as an FC Blades coach, for a period of less than 3 months from December 2010 through February 2011, when he coached our Boys Under 13 team. He has had zero affiliation with our club since then.
Prior to his 3-month stint at FC Blades, Peace worked for 4 years at another OC soccer club (Laguna Hills Eclipse) and was highly regarded. We are shocked at the allegations leveled against Mr. Peace. We had no hint of any inappropriate behavior during his brief tenure with FC Blades and we hope that justice is swiftly done in his case.
It is important to note that all coaches used by FC Blades, including Peace, have gone through and passed exhaustive background checks through the club soccer governing body, Cal South, every year to secure their coaching card. As an added precaution, our Board of Directors is currently having Cal South check the current status of all FC Blades coaches through the criminal databases and Megan's Law databases to ensure nothing has fallen through the cracks.
This tragic incident was made worse by several news organizations issuing reports that contained numerous factual inaccuracies, including naming Peace as a current 'recreational coach' at Irvine Blades. The Board of Directors and I have worked hard today to correct these stories and educate the DA and ICE on the facts in the matter and the FC Blades lack of involvement in the issue. We have pledged to provide whatever cooperation is needed to support law enforcement in bringing Peace to justice.
As you know, FC Blades provides quality soccer experiences for approximately 700 recreational players and 350 club players in Irvine and throughout Orange County. We have worked extremely hard to protect our brand and reputation over the past 7 years and it is very upsetting to see our club affiliated with an incident of this nature. Please note that we will continue to work hard to provide a safe and nurturing environment for your children as they participate in our soccer programs.
Thanks for your support and if you would like to discuss this matter, please contact me or any member of the board of directors at any time.Tim Woodcock
UPDATE, JAN. 24, 3 P.M.: The DA's office just emailed over a corrected version of its original press release on the charges levied against Orange County youth soccer coach Robert Vincent Peace. Here is what runs right across the top:
CORRECTION: The defendant is a former recreational soccer coach with the Irvine Blades and ended his employment in February 2011. He may also have coached other children's soccer teams.
UPDATE, JAN. 24, 2:40 P.M.: The following is a letter hand-delivered to the Weekly's editor about the original version of this later-clarified blog post:
Your article today on the Robert Peace arrest needs clarification immediately.
- Peace worked as an FC Blades coach for less than 3 months (from December 2010 through February 2011) and has had no affiliation with our club since then.
- He coached a boys U13 team during that time and never coached any girls teams.
- All coaches used by FC Blades, including Peace, have gone through and passed exhaustive background checks through the club soccer governing body, Cal South.
- Finally, before his stint at FC Blades, Peace worked for 4 years at another OC soccer club yet he is portrayed in your article as a current Blades coach.
FC Blades is a 501c(3) non-profit organization that provides quality soccer experiences for about 700 recreational players and 350 club players in Orange County. We are shocked at the allegations leveled against Mr. Peace. We had no hint of any inappropriate behavior during his 3-month tenure with FC Blades and we nope that justice is swiftly done.
Please note that your article contains several inaccurate statements that we respectfully request be rectified immediately as our reputation is being severely damaged by the inaccurate statements suggestion our current affiliation with Peace. Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter.
FC Blades Board of Directors
UPDATE, JAN. 24, 1:59 P.M.: Today's release from the Orange County District Attorney's office states, "[Robert Vincent] Peace is a citizen of the United Kingdom. At the time of his arrest, Peace was coaching a recreational soccer team for girls under the age of 14, the Irvine Blades."
However, several parents of players on that team say they have never heard of Peace. As a result, we are taking down the photo of Irvine Blades players we had on the second page of the original post until we can get to the bottom of who exactly the Barney Fife lookalike coached.
ORIGINAL POST, JAN. 24, 11:24 A.M.: The U.K. citizen who coaches the under-14 girls soccer team the Irvine Blades (or maybe not; see above) was charged today with meeting a 13-year-old girl from New York state in an online chat room and coercing her to send him sexually explicit videos of herself.
If that's not bad enough, prosecutors revealed that 45-year-old Robert Vincent Peace was discovered to have 2,000 child pornography images and videos, including some of the New York girl, in his Lake Forest residence and the vehicle he was stopped in by a multi-agency task force 12 days ago. Needless to say, authorities fear there may be other victims of the accused. Some could be locals.
Peace is scheduled to be arraigned this morning at the Central Jail in Santa Ana, where he is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail while facing three felony counts of lewd acts on a child under 14, six felony counts of lewd acts on a child, three felony counts of contacting a child with the intent to commit lewd acts on a child, two felony counts of using a minor for sex acts, and one felony count each of using a minor for distribution of obscene material and possession and control of child pornography with a sentencing enhancement allegation for substantial sexual conduct with a child. Conviction could land Peace in state prison for more than 25 years.
A member of Peace's family discovered child porn on his home computer in February 2011 and turned the portable hard driver over to the Orange County Sheriff's Department. The Orange County Child Exploitation Task Force (OCCETF)--which includes investigators from the sheriff's department, the Huntington Beach Police Department, the Secret Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations--launched an investigation.
The hard drive was given to the Orange County Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory for forensic analysis. The Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA), which is prosecuting Peace, claims that evidence gathering produced more than 1,500 images and more than 300 videos--including webcam footage--of graphic, sexually explicit child pornography featuring young teenage girls.
Among the victims discovered through the forensic analysis was a 13-year-old girl from Endicott, N.Y., who Peace is now accused of first meeting in Stickam.com's Internet video-chat room in 2009. They exchanged messages over the next two years that included his instructions that she send him videos of herself masturbating, according to the OCDA. After receiving sexually explicit videos of the girl, Peace is further accused of threatening to post them on the Internet for everyone to see unless she sent him more--and of posting some without her knowledge anyway.
Members of the OCCETF arrested Peace after a traffic stop Friday.
"Given the defendant's alleged activities on the Internet and his involvement with girls' recreational soccer, there's a possibility there are other young victims we don't know about," says Joseph Macias, assistant special agent in charge for ICE Homeland Security Investigations in Orange County, in an OCDA statement on Peace's arraignment. "While our investigation is ongoing, we want to remind parents to warn their children not to interact with strangers over the Internet. HSI will continue to aggressively target online child predators, but parents, because of their proximity, are the first line of defense."
Anyone who believes they have been a victim of Peace or has information that can help make the case against him is asked to contact Supervising District Attorney Investigator Lou Gutierrez at 714.347.8794 or ICE's toll-free 24-hour tip line at 866.DHS.2ICE.
Peace is the 22nd defendant to be identified and arrested by OCCETF since its inception in April 2011, according to the OCDA, whose top man, District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, is chairman of OCCETF's local executive board.