Former Holyoke Catholic soccer coach held on child pornography charge
By Father Bill Pomerleau
SPRINGFIELD – A former coach of the girls soccer team at Holyoke Catholic High School was detained by federal agents March 21 on a charge of child endangerment.
Michael W. Dupont, 37, was taken into custody at his Chicopee home for allegedly enticing minors to pose nude before a videocam connected to Teenchat, an Internet chat room service geared to teenagers.
According to a complaint drafted by a U.S. Department of Homeland Security agent, Dupont also received sexually explicit photos from at least five teens on his home computer.
Dupont came apparently came to the attention of a law enforcement agency in Vermont in late December when the mother of a 14-year-old girl discovered inappropriate emails on her daughter’s computer. The girl disclosed her age to Dupont after he identified himself as a 37-year-old soccer coach.
It is unclear where the alleged victim, identified only as “minor A,” in the complaint, lives. Working with federal agencies, the Vermont state police have been particularly active in combating child pornography, even when the victims are not located in their state.
Because of the interstate nature of Internet communication, child pornography cases are almost always prosecuted as federal crimes. Since the Internet crosses international borders, the Department of Homeland Security is also involved in many cases.
Dupont, who was not a classroom teacher at Holyoke Catholic, was employed by the shool as a seasonal coach. His contract ended in November 2012 when the soccer season ended.
Diocesan officials said they were “shocked by the news of Dupont’s detention.
“During his tenure as a soccer coach no allegations or related complaints were ever brought to our attention. Like all employees of the diocese, its parishes, schools and institutions, he underwent the normal screening, CORI and child abuse prevention training procedures. He likewise signed a code of conduct,” the diocese said in a prepared statement.
The diocese added that “working with the United States Attorney's Office, school and diocesan officials will be meeting with parents, faculty and students, starting with parents of soccer players tomorrow and then early next week with the larger school community.
“The bishop has pledged full cooperation with law enforcement officials in regards to their ongoing investigation. He also asks the prayers of the entire community for those whose lives are tragically victimized by these actions."
Dupont, who is now in custody, has not yet been formally charged with a crime. He will return to Federal District Court in Springfield on March 25, when he is expected to be arraigned on charges of sexual exploitation of children.
Editor's Note: Michael Dupont is not related to Mark E. Dupont, the Diocese of Springfield’s director of communications and public affairs.