June 11, 2019 – A former Navy employee who resided in Maryland before moving to Japan pleaded guilty today to the production, transportation and possession of child pornography.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur of the District of Maryland and Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office made the announcement.
Spencer E. Steckman, 35, formerly of Silver Spring, Maryland, was charged in March 2018 with one count of production of child pornography, one count of transportation of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. 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 in U.S. District Court. U.S. District Judge Paul W. Grimm for the District of Maryland scheduled sentencing for Nov. 7, 2019. Steckman has remained in custody since his initial detainment.
According to admissions made in connection with his plea agreement, between Aug. 17, 2017, and Sept. 22, 2017, while in Maryland, Steckman enticed a 13-year-old boy to take photographs of himself engaged in sexually explicit conduct and then send them to Steckman in exchange for money or PlayStation videogame redemption codes. Between Sept. 24, 2017, and Dec. 4, 2017, Steckman enticed another 13-year-old boy to take photographs and videos of himself engaged in sexually explicit conduct and then send them to Steckman in exchange for an iPhone. In mid-November 2017, Steckman moved to Japan to work with Commander Navy Region Japan, where he transported and possessed the child pornography.
Further investigation revealed eight other victims whom Steckman had enticed to produce child pornography, ranging in age from 12 to 17 years old, and dating back to the years 2008 to 2010, when Steckman was residing in San Diego, California.
The FBI’s Baltimore Field Office and the Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff’s Office are investigating the case, with substantial assistance from NCIS. Trial Attorney Jessica Urban of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) and Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Baldwin of the District of Maryland are prosecuting the case.
This investigation was a 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 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, 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.