Thursday, July 04, 2002

More child-porn charges filed


Four men now accused in Butler County

By Janice Morse, jmorse@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — A Monroe man who was the subject of an interstate investigation is the latest defendant indicted on Internet child pornography charges in Butler County.

        In a grand jury report made public Wednesday, Michael Schumacher, 25, was indicted on 25 counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance and 10 counts of pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor. If convicted of all charges, he faces a maximum sentence exceeding 150 years. Police arrested Mr. Schumacher Wednesday; he was scheduled for a hearing Friday.

        At least three similar cases are making their way through Butler's Common Pleas Court as part of Prosecutor Robin Piper's stepped-up effort.

        “Without a doubt, we've seen an increase in the prosecution of these child exploitation and child pornography cases here in Butler County; and it's evident that this type of material is not phasing out, but is, in fact, still coming on strong,” Mr. Piper said.

        Investigators have alleged that Mr. Schumacher had explicit Internet “chats” with an undercover officer posing as a teen in the state of Wyoming, leading to a search of his home in the 200 block of Scott Alan Drive in March. Computers, videotapes and related materials were seized; it took months for investigators to review the evidence and get the case ready for the grand jury.

        Although such prosecutions are time-consuming, authorities consider them a priority.

        “No one that I'm aware of, not even Larry Flynt, condones kiddie porn,” said Assistant Prosecutor Steve Tolbert, chief of Mr. Piper's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Unit.

        Prosecutors say three other Internet child porn defendants, all of whom are scheduled to make pleas or have trial dates next week, include:

        • Jonathan Steele, 35, of Middletown, who does computer work for the Solid Rock Church in Monroe and Time-Warner Cable, had originally pleaded to six charges, but changed his mind and withdrew that plea. In late May, a grand jury issued a 52-count indictment against him.

        • Stephen J. Mazeres, 41, of Middletown, who formerly lived in Las Vegas and worked a temporary job at a recycling plant, is accused of seven charges: two counts of pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor and five counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance.

        • Steven Evans, 38, of Hamilton, an apartment complex manager, faces 38 charges: 20 counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance, and 18 counts of pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor.

       



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