Chicopee Man Charged with Child Pornography
BOSTON – A Chicopee man was charged today in U.S. District Court in Springfield with receiving and possessing child pornography.
Victor Stepus, 47, was indicted on three counts of receipt of material involving the sexual exploitation of children and one count of possessing material involving the sexual exploitation of children.
According to court documents, on Aug. 21, 2015, federal agents executed a search warrant at Stepus’s residence. During the search, agents seized a personal computer that contained over 8,000 images and 33 videos of child pornography. These included image files that depicted the sexual abuse, including bondage, of girls as young as eight years old. During an interview with federal agents, Stepus admitted that, for the past several years, he used his home computer to access and download child pornography two to three times per week.
On each count of receipt of child pornography, the statute provides a minimum mandatory sentence of five years and no greater than 20 years in prison, a minimum of five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, a fine of $250,000, forfeiture and restitution. The charge of possession of child pornography provides a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, a minimum of five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, a fine of $250,000, forfeiture and restitution. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven H. Breslow of Ortiz’s Springfield Branch Office.
Members of the public who have questions, concerns, or information regarding this case should call (617) 748-3274.
The case is 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 exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ’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, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.
The details contained in the charging document are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.