Enticed at Least 10 Underage Boys to Produce Sexually Explicit Images and Videos. Sexually Abused One Victim, in Exchange for Cash and Marijuana.
Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Court Judge Paul W. Grimm sentenced Spencer E. Steckman, 36, a Navy employee formerly of Silver Spring, Maryland, today to 40 years in federal prison, followed by lifetime supervised release, for the production, transportation, and possession of child pornography. Judge Grimm also ordered that Steckman pay restitution of $120,000 to the victims, and that Steckman must register as a sex offender in the places where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; and Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office.
Steckman pleaded guilty on June 11, 2019, to one count of production of child pornography, one count of transportation of child pornography, and one count of possession of child pornography.
According to his plea agreement and other court documents, Steckman enticed at least 10 preteen and teenage boys to engage in sexually explicit conduct, record it and send it to him. He employed a variety of tactics, including misrepresenting his identity, offering money and video game redemption codes, and encouraging the children to compete with others to produce and send the “best” photos. Steckman also admitted that he gave one of the victims cash and marijuana to engage in sexual activity with him. After years of this conduct, Steckman moved to Japan in mid-November 2017, where he worked with Commander Navy Region Japan, and transported and possessed the child pornography.
Further investigation revealed that Steckman had shared his child pornography, including images sent to him by the victims, with like-minded offenders, and that he stored most of his child pornography collection on an encrypted device.
Steckman was detained by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) in Japan on March 27, 2018, and transported back to Maryland by the United States Marshals Service to appear before the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. He has remained in custody since that time.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by 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 individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.justice.gov/psc and click on the "Resources" tab on the left of the page.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur and Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski commended the FBI’s Baltimore Field Division and the Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff’s Office who investigated the case, with substantial assistance from NCIS. Mr. Hur and Mr. Benczkowski thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Baldwin and Trial Attorney Jessica Urban of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), who prosecuted the case.