TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Jeff Pierce, 40, a coach and former teacher at Seaman High School, charged with the sexual exploitation of minors, remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service two months after being arrested.
New court documents obtained by KSNT show prosecutors and the judge had serious concerns about releasing Pierce to his parents after conducting a detention hearing on Sept. 24.
Pearce was arrested and charged on Sept. 2, 2020. He was charged with two counts of producing child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography.
The juveniles in count one and two are 14 and 15 years old respectively. At least one victim is alleged to be 12 to 13 years old.
Pierce pleaded not guilty to the charges on Sept. 3, at his first hearing.
But, court documents reveal prosecutors believe the evidence against Pierce is, “more prolonged and widespread than the current indictment, and the government is still gathering additional information about more victims and the full scope of his activities.”
During his pretrial detention hearing Lawyer Chris Joseph appealed to the court to release Pierce to his parents, who live on 40 acres of land.
In court documents Pierce’s misconduct is called, “so prolonged, so widespread, so deceptive and so embedded in his secret life that it seems implausible that he would not try to tamper with at least some evidence if he were released.”
Arguing for continued detention, prosecutors called Pierce a “deeply troubled character.” Court documents state that Pierce’s offenses may involve dozens, perhaps even hundreds of minor victims.
Court documents revealed a concern that Pierce’s “deviant behavior targeting young males if he were released poses a serious risk of danger to the community.”
The court was also concerned that Pierce’s “secret life,” where he sought out teenage males, may continue.
When Pierce was arrested, according to court documents, he told police he only had one phone, however, officers found another phone during a search of his vehicle. Law enforcement found pornography on the second phone.
According to the documents the court believed there was “clear and convincing” evidence that Pierce would try to “obstruct justice” or “attempt to threaten, injure, or intimidate prospective witnesses.”
Pierce remains in detention until his next court appearance.
If convicted, Pierce could face a penalty of 15 to 30 years in federal prison on each count.
Pierce was a teacher and coach in the Seaman and Auburn-Washburn school districts in Topeka.