Steven Powell pleads not guilty to voyeurism, child porn

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on September 23, 2011 at 2:23 PM

Updated Saturday, Sep 24 at 11:57 AM

TACOMA, Wash. -- The father-in-law of missing Utah woman Susan Powell has pleaded not guilty to charges of possessing child pornography and secretly videotaping her, other women and young girls without their knowledge.

Steven Powell, 61, pleaded not guilty to child pornography and voyeurism charges during his first court appearance in Pierce County on Friday. A judge set bail at $200,000.

According to prosecutors, Steven's missing daughter-in-law, Susan, was featured among the more than 1,000 images of women and girls as young as age 7 that were seized by police. Prosecutors said the pictures appear to have been taken without Susan's knowledge, but she was not naked in any of them.

Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist called the images of Susan "creepy, but not criminal."

According to KSL-TV in Salt Lake City, Utah's West Valley Police said Steven is not a person of interest in Susan's disappearance. His son, Josh, however, remains a person of interest.

Josh did attempt to visit his father at the Pierce County Jail Friday night, but was told he could not.

Prosecutors argue Steven Powell has been taking inappropriate pictures and videos of women and girls for the last 10 years.

If he makes bail, the judge ordered he have no contact with minors. So far, Powell's family has not been able to come up with the money.

Powell was arrested in Puyallup Thursday and charged with 14 counts of voyeurism involving two child victims and one count of child porn possession.

Back on August 25, authorities in Utah investigating Susan's 2009 disappearance asked deputies for help in searching her husband Josh Powell's Puyallup area home, which he shares with his dad Steven and his two sons.

A few weeks later, after going over computers taken from the home, those detectives in Utah told Pierce County they found the cache of photographs and recordings. Deputies have been able to identify several victims, including minors and adults who said they never gave permission for them to be photographed.

The prosecutors office says two victims were Powell's neighbors in 2006 and 2007 and the videos appear to line up with Steven Powell's bedroom window.  

When contacted by law enforcement, the mother of the victims identified her daughters in the images. She explained that she sometimes left the blinds open in the upstairs due to heat. Crying, she said that she never thought someone would be watching and photographing her daughters, according to a press release from the Pierce County Prosecutors Office.

Steven Powell's estranged daughter, Jennifer Graves, says she's relieved her father is in jail and is not surprised by the charges.

"He's had problems with that kind of thing in the past," said Graves. "Not necessarily taking pictures of people that have been around him, but he's definitely collected magazines and things. Typically, when you get to that, it's not hard to go to the next step."

When reached over the phone regarding the arrest of Steven, Susan Powell's father Chuck Cox said, "We are relieved that the children are out of the house and have been taken into protective custody."

The arrest of Steven Powell came just hours before a judge ruled Friday morning in favor of Susan Powell's family and is not allowing Josh and Steven Powell to publish her diaries and journals. Josh and Steven's attorney had argued that its publication would give them a chance to defend themselves against accusations that Josh killed Susan.

Steven Powell worked for the Department of Corrections as an account executive, helping sell materials made by inmates in prison to outside facilities. He was terminated from his job Friday.

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