AURORA | A former soccer coach living in unincorporated Arapahoe County has been arrested for allegedly uploading child pornography to a messaging app, according to the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office.
Howard “Bud” Harper, 63, faces charges of sexual exploitation of children, a class 5 felony, and is scheduled to appear in Arapahoe County court Tuesday.
The sheriff’s office said that Harper is employed by the Real Soccer Club.
Jeremy Story, a spokesperson for Real Colorado, said that Harper worked as an age coordinator and coached a team at the same time. The organization suspended Harper as soon they were made aware of his arrest, Story said.
Story said that according to the information they were given from the Sheriff’s Office, Harper’s arrest was not connected to his work at Real Colorado and did not involve any players in the program.
According to an arrest affidavit, the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office received a tip about Harper from the Colorado Springs Police Department, which had been contacted by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
The Center had been notified by the social media platform Kik that in 2021, an account connected to Harper had allegedly uploaded 17 videos and photos of apparent child sexual abuse material to their platform.
The internet provider account where the material had been uploaded from was traced to Harper’s residence at an Aurora mailing address located in unincorporated Arapahoe County, and Harper was named as the account owner, the affidavit said.
The Yahoo account connected to the Kik profile that had uploaded the material has “multiple photos taken by Howard Harper and sent to many other individuals showing his face and genitals,” the affidavit said.
A search warrant was conducted at Harper’s residence Wednesday. According to the affidavit, Harper admitted receiving child pornography on Kik but said he did not remember forwarding it to anyone else.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Sheriff’s tip line at 720-874-8477.
Resources for families dealing with online sexual exploitation of minors are available from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at missingkids.org/gethelpnow.