Child porn charges lev­eled

Po­lice al­lege that man as­saulted boy, cre­ated lewd videos, pho­tos

The Dallas Morning News - - Metro & State - By VA­LERIE WIGGLESWORTH Staff Writer vwig­glesworth@dal­las­news.com

Plano po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing a 69-yearold man ac­cused of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing an un­der­age boy, creating porno­graphic videos of him and pos­sess­ing nu­mer­ous im­ages of child porn.

Daniel Barry St­ef­fen, who has been in jail since Aug. 31, was in­dicted last week by a Collin County grand jury on mul­ti­ple charges.

A teenage boy told po­lice about a binder St­ef­fen showed him that was la­beled “Dan’s Favorite Pic­tures.” The black and blue binder had “lots of pages of pic­tures” of naked un­der­age boys, the teen told po­lice.

The teen said the pho­tos showed the same bed­ding that was in St­ef­fen’s Plano home, ac­cord­ing to prob­a­ble cause af­fi­davits filed by po­lice.

It was un­clear how many chil­dren might be in­volved or what pe­riod of time the in­ves­ti­ga­tion cov­ers.

Po­lice de­clined to an­swer ques­tions, cit­ing “the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing this case and the sen­si­tive charges as­so­ci­ated with it.”

Defense at­tor­ney Todd Shapiro said St­ef­fen was fac­ing “very se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tions,” but he de­clined to com­ment fur­ther un­til he learned more about the charges. Po­lice have told Shapiro that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­mains open and that more charges are pos­si­ble.

The teen told po­lice St­ef­fen some­times kept the binder un­der his bed but of­ten hid it else­where.

A wit­ness told po­lice he was aware that St­ef­fen had been in­ves­ti­gated in the past for “be­ing in­volved in some­thing in­ap­pro­pri­ate.” Dur­ing that in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the wit­ness said, St­ef­fen gave him a box to hide in his stor­age shed. The wit­ness said he now be­lieves the box con­tained some­thing il­le­gal re­lated to that in­ves­ti­ga­tion, one af­fi­davit says.

St­ef­fen has never been con­victed of a crime, Shapiro con­firmed.

Dal­las County records show St­ef­fen was ar­rested by Richard­son po­lice in 1994 on sus­pi­cion of pos­sess­ing child pornog­ra­phy. A grand jury de­clined to in­dict him.

St­ef­fen is charged in Collin County with two counts of sex­ual as­sault of a child, one count of in­de­cency with a child, one count of pos­ses­sion of child pornog­ra­phy, two counts of pos­ses­sion with in­tent to pro­mote child pornog­ra­phy and one count of em­ploy­ing, in­duc­ing or au­tho­riz­ing sex­ual per­for­mance of a child.

He is be­ing held in the Collin County De­ten­tion Cen­ter in lieu of $340,000 bail. His first court ap­pear­ance is sched­uled for Dec. 14.

Plano po­lice were ini­tially con­tacted Aug. 30 by a man who said he had wit­nessed St­ef­fen’s im­proper be­hav­ior with the 15-year-old boy. Po­lice in­ter­viewed the teen, who said he’d known St­ef­fen for sev­eral years. Ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit, the teen de­scribed mul­ti­ple sex acts that St­ef­fen asked him to do. Some of them were at St­ef­fen’s home on Cov­ered Wagon Drive, which is north of Schell Park and near Jupiter Road.

Prop­erty records show St­ef­fen pur­chased the home in 1993.

The teen said that he told his mom about some of the in­ci­dents but that “she doesn’t be­lieve me,” the af­fi­davit says. The teen also told po­lice St­ef­fen threat­ened to hurt his fam­ily if he told any­one what they did to­gether.

Po­lice re­cov­ered text mes­sages be­tween St­ef­fen and the teen that were of a sex­ual na­ture, ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit.

The teen told po­lice St­ef­fen some­times gave him food or money.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors also learned St­ef­fen had a sil­ver brief­case that he would some­times ask oth­ers to hold for him. Based on a phone call St­ef­fen made from jail, po­lice tracked down the man who had the brief­case. The man gave it to in­ves­ti­ga­tors, who ob­tained a search war­rant for the con­tents.

Po­lice did a foren­sic ex­am­i­na­tion of a large por­tion of the dig­i­tal me­dia found in the brief­case, the af­fi­davit says. They found a sil­ver-col­ored com­pact disc la­beled “Pri­vate Stuff” that con­tained “a large quan­tity of nude pho­tos of chil­dren.”

De­tec­tives also found three videos that showed the 15-year-old boy en­gaged in sex acts, the af­fi­davit says. One video in­cluded St­ef­fen. Another had what po­lice said was St­ef­fen’s voice as he po­si­tioned the cam­era, the af­fi­davit says.

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