In Waco, a federal judge sentenced 43–year-old James Stevens to 200 months in federal prison for possession of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden, San Antonio Division.
During sentencing on June 10, 2020, U.S. District Judge Alan Albright also ordered that Stevens pay $5,000 in restitution and be placed on supervised release for a period of ten years after completing his prison term.
“I am thankful that we were able to put another predator behind bars. The sexual exploitation of children is one of the most critical problems facing our country, and it doesn’t get remotely enough attention,” stated U.S. Attorney Bash.
On February 11, 2020, Stevens pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography. According to court records, information concerning child sexual exploitation material provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the South Australian Police led HSI investigators to the defendant. In June 2019, authorities executed a search warrant at the defendant’s residence in Temple and seized his cellular telephone. Stevens was arrested based on outstanding state warrants, but later bonded out of jail.
During a subsequent forensics review of the defendant’s cell phone, authorities discovered numerous images of child pornography as well as images of the defendant pant-less, lying down on a bed next to a minor victim. Information obtained from the images led investigators to a residence in Rockdale, TX, where the minor victim lived with his biological father. Inside the residence, investigators saw the defendant lying on a bed with the minor victim sitting next to him. During an interview, the biological father stated that the four-year-old victim is non-verbal, suffered from a cognitive disability and lacked specific skills that would be normally associated with a child of that age. The biological father also admitted that he and the defendant were in a relationship and that they used methamphetamine which was found in the residence. State authorities arrested both men for the methamphetamine and notified Child Protective Services.
During this investigation, agents discovered approximately 121 images and 24 videos of child pornography on the defendant’s cell phone, computer and online accounts.
“The significant sentence imposed on James Stevens sends a clear message that there are serious consequences for those who exploit children. Stevens will serve almost 17 years in federal prison for his incomprehensible acts,” stated HSI Special Agent in Charge Folden. “HSI remains committed to working with our law enforcement partners to aggressively pursue those who victimize the most vulnerable members of our society, our children.”
HSI investigated this case with assistance from the Bell County Sheriff’s Office and the Milam County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Gloff prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’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 via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.