Lon Morris College Golf Coach Arrested For Child Porn Charges
By CASEY KNAUPP
Lon Morris College’s head golf coach was arrested Monday on child pornography charges.
Barry Dean Griffin, 38, appeared in U.S. Magistrate Judge John Love’s court in Tyler for his initial appearance on charges of possession and distribution of visual depictions involving the sexual exploitation of minors.
Griffin, who surrendered himself to marshals in Love’s court, was advised of his rights and of the charges against him. He has not been indicted.
Griffin has been charged by complaint for allegedly possessing and distributing child pornography on May 30 in Cherokee County. If convicted, he could face five to 20 years in prison for the distribution charge and up to 10 years in prison for the possession charge.
Defense attorney F.R. “Buck” Files Jr. said he was contacted by Griffin Monday morning and became aware of a warrant that had been issued for the defendant’s arrest so plans were made for him to voluntarily surrender himself.
At the request of Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen Hurst, the arrest affidavit and complaint detailing the allegations were ordered to remain under seal.
Griffin, when answering the judge’s questions about his competency, said he had before been treated for depression but was found competent for Monday’s hearing.
Griffin began as Lon Morris’ men’s golf coach during the 2005-2006 season and is currently the head golf coach, as well as a kinesiology instructor.
The Lon Morris Athletic Director Dale Dotson and a spokesperson from the college’s public relations department did not immediately return phone messages left Monday afternoon.
Griffin began his coaching career in 1996 as the assistant women’s basketball coach and graduate assistant instructor at Tarleton State University. He was head golf coach at Weatherford College from 1998 to 2000, where his players and teams received numerous awards, according to his biography information on Lon Morris’ Web site. Griffin was head basketball and golf coach at Nocona High School from 2002 through 2004 and was the head volleyball and basketball coach at Ranger College in 2004 and 2005.
Griffin is scheduled to be brought back to Love’s court at 2 p.m. Thursday for a detention hearing, when the judge will decide whether he should be released on bond or jailed pending his trial. Griffin, who was jailed pending that hearing, is being represented by Files and Brett Harrison.