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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

Friday, May 17, 2013

Salinas Man Charged With Child Sexual Abuse

SAN JOSE - David John Stevens has been arrested and charged with engaging in sexually explicit activity with a minor and distributing child pornography, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced. The charges are based on allegations that he molested a prepubescent girl and distributed video images of that molestation over the Internet.

Stevens was arrested on Wednesday in his home in Salinas, only five days after a “John Doe” arrest warrant was issued in Washington, D.C., and just over 24 hours after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) issued a public appeal for leads in the case. Stevens was taken into custody by HSI special agents and investigators with the Salinas Police Department.

According to the complaint, Stevens was identified by a member of the public after she saw images from videos the defendant had posted on the Internet. The reporting party saw three images (which had been sanitized for public dissemination) on the website of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Upon recognizing Stevens in the photographs, the witness notified the authorities.

The complaint alleges that Stevens filmed the molestations in a soundproof room located in the garage of his home. The complaint further states that, in addition to positively identifying Stevens, the reporting party was able to identify the room in which the molestations allegedly had occurred.

United States Attorney Melinda Haag made this comment following the arrest:

There is no higher priority for my office than protecting the youngest and most vulnerable members of our community: our children. My office will continue to work closely with our federal and state law enforcement partners to carry out that mission. I congratulate the agents at the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the fine officers of the Salinas Police Department, for their quick work in apprehending this suspect. I also thank the person who came forward and reported this conduct to the authorities. We could not do our work without the assistance of the public.

Stevens made his initial appearance in federal court yesterday before The Honorable Howard R. Lloyd, United States Magistrate Judge. He was remanded into the custody of the United States Marshal pending arraignment on June 6, 2013, at 10:30 a.m., before The Honorable Paul S. Grewal, United States Magistrate Judge.

The maximum statutory penalty for Count One, persuading or inducing a minor to engage in sexually explicit activity, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2251(a), is not less than 15 nor more than 30 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. The maximum penalty for Count Two, distributing child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §2252(a)(2), is not less than 5 nor more than 20 years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

David R. Callaway is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Elise Etter. The prosecution is the result of a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators in close collaboration with the Salinas Police Department.

All members of the public are encouraged to contact HSI through its toll-free hotline, 1-866-347-2423, if they have further information about this matter.

In addition, suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.

Please note that a complaint contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Stevens, must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

(Stevens Complaint (REDACTED VERSION) )








Updated November 18, 2014