HUNTINGTON – A Putnam County attorney is facing a federal child pornography charge and is currently incarcerated in Kentucky.
Stephen Sluss, who is also a former assistant prosecuting attorney for Kanawha County, was charged with receipt of child pornography after an investigation that started in May.
The criminal complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia on Dec. 4.
Sgt. Talia Divita, a West Virginia State Police officer working in the Crimes Against Children Unit, authored the complaint.
“Based on my training and experience and the facts as set forth in this affidavit, there is probable cause to believe that on or about April 1, 2017, at Scott Depot, Putnam County, West Virginia, within the Southern District of West Virginia, Stephen Craig Sluss, also known as ‘mckicker40,’ using a means of facility of interstate commerce, the Internet, knowingly received child pornography…”
On May 13, ChatStep, an online group chat site, alerted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that a user had uploaded an image of possible child pornography and identified Sluss’ user name.
On May 22, Divita reviewed the image, which was of a minor female between the ages of 12 and 15 years old. She then obtained an administrative subpoena in order to identify who the user name belonged to, according to court documents.
On June 14, Brian Morris, a special agent, went with Davita to Sluss’ law office, where he agreed to provide a voluntary statement.
“Sluss admitted to using ChatStep to download child pornography on his computer located at his residence,” Davita wrote. “During the interview, Sluss admitted he used search terms such as ‘PTHC’ and ‘Lolita’ which [Davita] knows are used by individuals searching for child pornography.”
Sluss also gave verbal and written consent to search his residence and both a laptop and desktop computer were seized.
A forensic examination was done on the computers and five video files were found that contained minor females between the ages of 5 and 7 performing sex acts.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 14 before U.S. Magistrate Cheryl Eifert, according to court documents.
Mark Plants represents Sluss.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 3:17-mj-00051