Woman took custody of infant to make child porn, sent it to people online, US feds say


A sentencing hearing for Stevens is scheduled for April 24, according to the Department of Justice. She faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years in federal prison. — Dreamstime/TNS

A woman took custody of an infant so she could make child porn and send it to users on the messaging app Kik, federal prosecutors said.

Stefani Kasey Marie Stevens, 31, of California, was found guilty on Nov. 1 of multiple counts related to the creation and distribution of child pornography, including one count of “obtaining custody of a minor with intent to produce child pornography,” according to a news release from the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

Authorities executed a search warrant at her mobile home in Yucaipa, about 80 miles east of Los Angeles, in November 2019 after she admitted to taking sexually explicit pictures of a minor to send to people on Kik, according to a criminal complaint.

Kik, which is owned by a California company, is a free instant messaging app. It allows users to create chat groups and identify themselves by only a username, giving people the option of anonymity, WKRG reported.

Kik did not immediately respond to a request for comment from McClatchy News. Kik’s website has a “Safety Center” page with information on how to report users and groups. “Connecting the world through chat is our goal, and we want you to do it safely,” the page says.

When investigators went through Stevens’ online accounts, they found messages between her and another user from the day before sexually explicit videos of the infant were made in May 2019, according to the news release. Stevens told the user that she was “excited to take custody of the infant the next day” so that she could make videos of herself sexually abusing the child, the release says.

In addition to the videos, she also took a series of sexually explicit photos of the infant in June 2019, the release says. In October and November 2018, she had taken explicit photographs of a different victim under the age of 12 and stored them in an online account, along with “hundreds of other child pornography images and videos,” the release says.

Stevens’ attorney did not respond to a request for comment by McClatchy News.

When law enforcement officers executed the search warrant at Stevens’ residence, they recognised rooms of the home as well as sheets, a comforter and a pillowcase as the same ones appearing in some of the pornographic images of the infant, according to the criminal complaint.

Authorities brought the child to the Department of Children and Family Services, where she was reunited with her mother, the complaint says.

A sentencing hearing for Stevens is scheduled for April 24, according to the Department of Justice. She faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years in federal prison. – The Charlotte Observer/Tribune News Service

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