BLUEFIELD, W.Va. – A McDowell County woman plead guilty today to a child pornography offense.
According to the plea agreement and statements made in court, Lacosta Steele, 25, of Iaeger, admitted that in October and November 2020 she persuaded a 12-year-old girl to engage in sexually explicit conduct, including masturbation and the lascivious exhibition of her genitals, for the purpose of creating videos of this conduct. Steele admitted that she then sent those images to her then-boyfriend using her cell phone. Steele also admitted that during this same time frame she transported the same 12-year-old girl to R.D. Bailey Lake, where her then-boyfriend engaged in sexual intercourse with the child.
Steele pleaded guilty to distribution of child pornography and faces at least five and up to 20 years in prison when she is sentenced on April 4, 2022.
“I want to thank the West Virginia State Police and Homeland Security Investigations for their partnership in making sure that this defendant was held accountable for her heinous crime against a vulnerable child,” said United States Attorney Will Thompson.
Senior United States District Judge David A. Faber presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Rada Herrald is handling the prosecution.
This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative of 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 those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:21-cr-00187.