Thursday November 15, 2012 | By:Felice E. Krycia-associate editor | News
Steven Metz, 40, of Hamburg, has been charged by criminal complaint with possession of child pornography, U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced Wednesday, Nov. 14.. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie P. Grisanti, who is handling the case, stated that between January 2012 and March 2012, federal agents conducted an investigation into a suspect involved in child pornography in Phoenix, Ariz. According to the complaint, the suspect allegedly sent a series of emails to the defendant, a Customs and Border Protection employee, which contained both images and videos of prepubescent children involved in sexual acts.
On Aug. 31, a search warrant was executed for email accounts belonging to Metz. Agents uncovered various emails allegedly depicting the defendant both receiving and distributing images and videos of child pornography involving prepubescent children.
On Oct. 25, a search warrant was executed at the home of the defendant. According to the complaint, Metz denied seeing child pornography and claimed he had nothing to do with the alleged email account. Agents seized two computers from the residence and an initial review allegedly uncovered child pornography on both computers.
Metz had an initial appearance Wednesday, Nov. 14 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah McCarthy. He is being held without bail.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The criminal complaint is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero and the Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Inspector General under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory Null.
As in all cases, the defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty.