Boston - After pleading guilty to child pornography charges, a former Groton, Mass., man was sentenced to time served, six days in federal prison. The defendant, Steven Saunders, 28, of Chula Vista, Calif., admitted to wanting to have children in order to engage in sexual activity with them, as well as have the children engage in sexual contact with each other.
On Oct. 1, 2012, U.S. District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock sentenced Saunders to time served, six days in prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release on possession of child pornography charges. The government recommended 51 months in prison to be followed by a lifetime of supervised release.
According to the agreed-upon statement of facts, Saunders possessed images of child pornography, including images of naked minors, being penetrated in some fashion, or having a sexual act performed on them. In addition, Saunders admitted that he maintained an online relationship with someone with whom he chatted about having children together and having the children engage in sexual activity with the parents themselves, as well as have the children engage in sexual contact with each other.
During the search of Saunders’ apartment, he stated that he had been downloading images of minor females for approximately one year and estimated that there were hundreds of images on his computer. He said that he initially began viewing the images for their “shock value.”
Saunders’ computer contained over 180 images and at least seven video clips of child pornography, depicting sexually explicit conduct by and upon young children, mostly prepubescent girls, and include toddlers and infants.
U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Division; and Chief Donald Palma of the Groton Police Department made the announcement. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael I. Yoon and Stacy Dawson Belf of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit, and Trial Attorney Thomas Franzinger of the Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation & Obscenity Section.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys' Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.