Former Mountlake Terrace, Washington Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Production and Possession of Child Pornography
Defendant Produced Images of Sexual Abuse of Young Child
A 51-year-old Mountlake Terrace, Washington man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 15 years in prison for production and possession of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. DAVID STEPHENS, 51, was identified by law enforcement in February 2015 as someone who was sharing images of child rape and abuse over a peer-to-peer file-sharing network. When agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations executed a court authorized search warrant on STEPHENS’ home in March 2015, they seized electronic devices with thousands of images of child rape and abuse. Among the images were some photos STEPHENS had produced of his molestation of a young child. In addition to the mandatory minimum 15 year sentence, U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman imposed a lifetime term of supervised release to follow the prison term.
STEPHENS pleaded guilty April 28, 2016. STEPHENS will be required to register as a sex offender. His sentence calls for him to undergo sex offender treatment while he is in custody and following his release from prison.
According to records filed in the case, STEPHENS had been charged with child pornography offenses in 2002 in Snohomish County, but because of legal issues those charges were ultimately dismissed. The child of a former girlfriend also disclosed that STEPHENS had molested her over a period of years, but no charges were filed in that case. Despite those encounters with law enforcement, STEPHENS continued to trade images of child sexual abuse and produced the images of his molestation of a child left in his care.
In October 2016, the court will be asked to set restitution for victims in this case – both the victim depicted in the photos STEPHENS produced and the known victims depicted in the child pornography he viewed and traded over the internet.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys= Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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 www.justice.gov/psc.
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew Hampton and Siddarth Velamoor.