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Press Release

Santa Clarita Man Found Guilty of Producing Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California

LOS ANGELES – A federal jury has convicted a Canyon Country man and former Navy SEAL of producing child sexual abuse material (CSAM) for surreptitiously filming nude minor victims with hidden cameras in a residential setting.

Robert Quido Stella, 50, was found guilty Friday afternoon of three counts of producing child pornography, each of which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in federal prison.

According to court documents, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) received a tip two years ago that Stella had accessed a dark web child pornography website.

On July 15, 2021, agents found collections of CSAM on Stella’s computer and two external hard drives. Stella concealed some of the collections in digital folders structures bearing misleading titles such as “federal contracts” and “tax returns.”  During the course of their investigation, HSI agents also found hidden cameras that Stella placed, including one disguised as a USB charging block. According to evidence presented at trial, Stella used that hidden camera to film his minor victims as they undressed to shower and used the bathroom.

HSI later located approximately 17 videos and over 100 screenshots from those videos of minor victims naked and partially undressed. Stella hid these images under multi-level digital folder structures on a hard drive bearing misleading titles such as “course work.”

A federal grand jury returned an indictment on July 27, 2021, that charged Stella with the three counts of production of child pornography, one count of access with intent to view child pornography for logging on to the child pornography dark web site, and two counts of possession of child pornography. Stella pleaded guilty to access with intent to view child pornography and two counts possession of child pornography, each of which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison and a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years.

The federal jury convicted Stella of the three counts of production of child pornography on Friday after a four-day trial.

United States District Judge George H. Wu has scheduled an August 24 sentencing hearing on all six counts.

Stella has been in custody since his arrest.

This investigation in this case was conducted by HSI.

Assistant United States Attorneys Catharine A. Richmond and Lyndsi C. Allsop of the Violent and Organized Crime Section are prosecuting this case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Justice Department’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

Updated May 22, 2023

Project Safe Childhood
Press Release Number: 23-117