Corinth MS News

Details on arrest of former Booneville Coach Kenny Paul Geno

Kenny Paul Geno, a former assistant basketball coach at Booneville High School, aged 28, has been arrested on federal child sexual exploitation charges. He was indicted on September 20 for sexual exploitation of a child and attempting to entice/coerce a minor. Geno had contact with victims under 18 through his school position and was arrested on a Tuesday afternoon.

Court documents reveal that Geno used a minor female to produce child pornography in April 2022, and he attempted to persuade another minor to send him child pornography sometime during this year. To protect the minors’ identities, a pretrial protective order was issued to keep their names confidential.

During a hearing at the federal courthouse in Oxford, FBI agent Ryan Berthay testified that seven witnesses accused Geno of sending inappropriate Snapchat messages to them when they were minors. The witnesses reported that Geno offered alcohol to underage girls, requested nude photos from minor females, and sent explicit pictures to them, all while associated with the BHS basketball program. Geno was charged with recording a sexual encounter with an underage girl, leading to the first charge, and another victim stated that Geno repeatedly tried to obtain nude pictures from her.

Booneville school superintendent Todd English disclosed that Geno had worked as a part-time paraprofessional coach since at least the 2021 school year. He held a full-time job elsewhere and received a coaching supplement from the school district for practices and games. The school district severed ties with Geno a few weeks ago upon learning of the allegations.

At a detention hearing following the arraignment, defense attorney Tony Farese presented five character witnesses who testified that Geno was not a threat to the community.

Initially, Judge Sanders released Geno on an unsecured $10,000 bond, with conditions including surrendering his passport, abstaining from drugs and alcohol, and home detention. He was also instructed to avoid pornography, and his phone and computer could be subject to search. However, Assistant U.S. Attorney Parker King opposed Geno’s release and requested a stay pending appeal.

King argued in a nine-page motion that Geno’s release would risk contact with victims or witnesses, especially since he could retain his cell phone, making it difficult to prevent such contact. She further contended that Geno, facing substantial potential prison sentences, had little incentive to comply with release conditions.

If convicted of both charges, Geno could face up to 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000, with Count 1 carrying a minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison and Count 2 carrying a minimum sentence of 10 years.

Judge Sanders issued an oral order to delay Geno’s release on bond, and Geno was booked into the Lafayette County Detention Center. The timeline for addressing the motion is unspecified, but a jury trial has been scheduled for November 20 in Greenville before District Judge Debra Brown, with any plea agreement due by November 6.

Jon R Myers

Jon R Myers is he executive editor of the Mississippi New Group, the largest digital only media company in Mississippi.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *