TUCSON, Ariz. (LAWFUEL) – Walter Carnes Stevens, 82, of Sierra Vista, Ariz., was sentenced in Tucson today to 78 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Raner C. Collins. Stevens pleaded guilty on November 7, 2007, to Possession of Child Pornography.
Stevens came to the attention of authorities in August 2006 when several videotapes were unearthed by seasonal rains that opened up an area about 35 feet deep and 3 feet wide around a septic tank. The tapes were found by a resident who provided the tapes to the Sierra Vista Police Department. Because the tapes appeared to contain sexually explicit material depicting minor children and an adult male, Sierra Vista Police contacted the FBI and a joint investigation ensued.
After the tapes were repaired and enhanced by the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, it was confirmed that the tapes did depict female minors engaged in sexual activity with an adult Caucasian male. The adult male depicted in the videos was identified as being Walter Carnes Stevens. It was determined that Stevens had resided in the area for over 20 years and had managed the property where the tapes were found.
Agents responded to Stevens’ home in February of 2007, and a search revealed one videotape approximately 15 minutes in length depicting Stevens engaged in sexual activity with several minor females. Further investigation revealed that out of all of the videos (13 recovered from the hole near the septic tank and 1 from Stevens’ residence), two of the videos were produced by Stevens when he resided in Japan between 1965 and 1973 and depicted Stevens engaged in sexual activity with minor Japanese females, one believed to be as young as five or six years old. Other images were produced between 1973 and 1975 while Stevens resided in Korea and depicted Stevens engaged in sexual activity with Korean females believed to be 11 to 13 years of age. Additional images were produced by Stevens between 1980 and 1986 in Thailand depicting him engaged in sexual activity with a Cambodian female believed to be 13 or 14 years of age. During an interview, Stevens acknowledged producing the tapes and keeping copies which he continued to watch for his own sexual gratification.
The sentence of 78 months in custody will be followed by lifetime supervised release, with a number of conditions. One of those conditions will require the defendant to register as a sex offender.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys Offices, 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 identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.
The investigation in this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Sierra Vista Police Department. The prosecution was handled by Judson T. Mihok, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Tucson