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Press Release

Lee County Convicted Sex Offender Sentenced To 10 Years In Federal Prison For Possessing Child Sexual Abuse Images And Videos

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Fort Myers, Florida – U.S. District Judge Sheri Polster Chappell has sentenced Steven Thomas Baryla (39, Lehigh Acres) to 10 years in federal prison for possessing images and videos depicting the sexual abuse of children. Baryla was also sentenced to a lifetime term of supervised release and ordered to register as a sex offender.

Baryla had pleaded guilty on January 14, 2021. 

According to court documents, Baryla knowingly possessed child sexual abuse images and videos that he had obtained from the internet; he also accessed similar images depicting children engaged in sexually explicit conduct via social media applications such as Kik and Snapchat. On June 20, 2019, a search warrant was executed at Baryla’s residence where agents from Homeland Security Investigations recovered Baryla’s cellphone. Subsequent forensic analysis of Baryla’s cellphone revealed that it contained 106 images and 10 videos depicting children being sexually abused. The internet history of the cellphone showed certain internet search terms, including “best state for sex offenders to live 2017” and “registered sex offender name change.”  

In 2011, Baryla was convicted on federal charges of transporting child pornography in New Jersey. 

“Thanks to HSI special agents, this child predator will have a decade to think about his crimes,” said HSI Tampa Assistant Special Agent in Charge Michael Cochran.         

This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Yolande G. Viacava.

This is another case 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 Attorneys’ 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

Updated May 25, 2021

Project Safe Childhood