Baltimore, Maryland –Stephen Bayne Fields, Jr., age 47, of Towson, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to distribution of child pornography by using multiple social media accounts to send and receive video and still images of children engaging, and being used to engage in, sexually explicit conduct via the Internet.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Acting Special Agent in Charge Cardell T. Morant of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Chief Melissa R. Hyatt of the Baltimore County Police Department; and Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.
According to his plea agreement, between July and September 2018, Fields used four social media accounts under alias names that were variations of a name beginning with the letter “T” and each included images of an adult female by that name as profile photos. “T” was 20 years old at the time and was known personally to Fields, who obtained the profile photos for his alias accounts from a genuine social media account used by “T” in her own name.
Fields admitted that during this time, using the four social media accounts created using “T’s” name and photos, he sent and received child pornography on numerous occasions. For example, as detailed in the plea agreement, while posing as “T” in July 2018, Fields sent messages to other social media users stating that he (or she) lived in Maryland and requesting “young girl pictures.” Between July 24 and September 2018, Fields received at least five videos depicting prepubescent minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct from other social media users. Fields also sent at least three videos and one still image depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct to other users.
On August 30 and 31, 2018, Fields corresponded through the social media accounts with another user discussing that person’s sexual abuse of a seven-year-old minor female. Fields received two videos from the user depicting an adult male engaging in sexually explicit conduct with a prepubescent female. Fields also sent the other user a sexually explicit video. During their conversations, Fields asked the user to send him photos or videos of the user sexually abusing the girl.
Law enforcement became aware of Fields’ alias accounts through a series of Cybertipline reports made to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Internet Protocol addresses used in August 2018 to access three of these accounts were subscribed by Fields at his residence in Towson. Law enforcement executed a search warrant at the residences and seized a laptop computer and other electronic devices.
As part of his plea agreement, Fields will be required to 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).
Fields faces a mandatory minimum of five years and up to 20 years in prison for distribution of child pornography. U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow has scheduled sentencing for October 10, 2019, at 1:00 p.m.
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 commended the FBI, HSI-Baltimore, the Baltimore County Police Department, and the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew J. Maddox, who is prosecuting the federal case.
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