You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Baltimore Man Sentenced to 12 Years in Federal Prison for Coercion and Enticement of a Minor to Produce Child Pornography

The Defendant Visited Live Chat Rooms and Requested Specific Sexual Activity, Including by Prepubescent Girls

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Deborah L. Boardman sentenced Steven Martin Bickling, age 48, of Baltimore, Maryland to 12 years in federal prison, followed by 15 years of supervised release, for coercion and enticement of a minor to produce child pornography. 

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department.

According to his guilty plea, in 2018 Bickling visited a website that offered live chat rooms with foreign women.  After hearing children in the background of chat rooms, Bickling asked a female performer to show her daughter nude for $50.  After agreeing to Bickling’s request, the female performer posed her prepubescent daughter on video chat as Bickling masturbated.  Bickling estimated that this conduct occurred 12 to 15 times within a two-year period. 

As stated in his plea agreement, on August 19, 2020, Baltimore City detectives and members of the FBI Violent Crimes Against Children Task Force executed a search and seizure warrant at Bickling’s residence.  Bickling was present at the time.  During an interview with law enforcement, Bickling admitted that he possessed pornographic videos of children between five and twelve years of age saved on his laptop.  Bickling also informed law enforcement that he paid for access to a restricted child pornography website.

A subsequent review of Bickling’s email account revealed numerous conversations in which Bickling solicited images or videos of female children engaging in sexually explicit conduct.  For example, in an email communication on May 7, 2019, Bickling wrote “I watch a lot of child prn . . . I like when they cry.”  In chats dating back to 2018, Bickling solicited live video sessions of adult men engaging in explicit sexual activity with their younger sisters or nieces. 

As detailed in his plea agreement, a forensic analysis of the items seized from Bickling’s residence revealed a total of 21 images and 50 videos that depicted minors, including prepubescent minors, engaged in sexually explicit conduct. 

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 the United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.  For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.  For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.justice.gov/psc and click on the "Resources" tab on the left of the page.

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the FBI and the Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Colleen McGuinn, who prosecuted the case.

For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md/project-safe-childhood and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.

# # #

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Marcia Lubin (410) 209-4854
Updated November 15, 2022