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San Diego youth hockey coach, substitute teacher arrested on federal child pornography charges

Dan Dasko coached for the San Diego Ice Arena Oilers for two seasons. Dasko is accused of distributing child pornography

SAN DIEGO — A San Diego youth hockey coach and substitute teacher has been arrested on child pornography charges, according to a July 14 federal complaint.

FBI agents arrested 30-year-old Daniel Dasko on July 13 for the distribution of child pornography. Dasko, who lives in Carlsbad, coached two San Diego Ice Arena (SDIA) in-house hockey teams for kids 12-to-13 years old. 

"I've been doing this over 40 years and in my program I can never remember any case that I have ever had involving children being abused in any way," said Joel Henderson, the president of the hockey club for San Diego Ice Arena.

He said Dasko worked as a volunteer coach for the past 4 years and believed he was set to coach teams this summer.

According to the federal complaint, agents identified Dasko after a middle school teacher in Philadelphia was arrested for trading pornographic images and for baiting young boys to send nude photos and videos. 

FBI agents say Dasko and the teacher exchanged more than 3,600 messages and numerous photos and videos over the span of a year, from October 2020 through October 2021.

Dasko, who went by the handle "Mr. Pickles" when communicating on social media with the teacher", and the teacher worked with another person in New York. Dasko and the teacher would provide the person in New York names and social media accounts for boys "in hopes that [they] would be able to obtain sexually explicit material from the minors," reads the July 14 federal investigation.

"I was upset, shocked, unhappy. It's just something you never want to see," Henderson said.

Last week agents searched Dasko's home in San Diego. Dasko, according to the federal complaint, "admitted he was Mr. Pickles and the user of the social media account. Though he could not remember specific images and videos, he did admit that he would solicit others for images of minor males who were naked."

On July 14, a federal judge ordered Dasko to remain in custody pending trial. 

In a statement, the San Diego Ice Arena confirmed that the FBI arrested Dasko and that the program removed Dasko from all programs and reported him to a non-profit that tracks youth from sex abuse. 

According to the statement, Dasko had undergone background checks before getting hired on as a coach. 

Read the release, "As prosecutors release more information if it has a relationship to our programs we will pass it on."

Joel Henderson is a longtime director and hockey coach at San Diego Ice Arena. Henderson tells CBS 8 that he and other coaches are not aware of any incidents with any kids at San Diego Ice Arena. 

He said parents received an email to notify them of Dasko's arrest.

"The letter to parents said that the FBI is doing their investigation, SafeSport is doing their investigation and we don't have any direct knowledge of anything," he said.

State records show that Dasko received his certificate of clearance to become a substitute teacher in 2016. His license remains active.

Victims or anyone with information about this case was encouraged to call the FBI San Diego Field Office at 858-320-1800 or submit a tip at tips.fbi.gov. Tips may be sent anonymously. 

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