HUNTINGTON – A former attorney faces at least five and up to 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to a child pornography charge.
Stephen Craig Sluss entered a guilty plea on April 9 to receiving child pornography.
U.S. Attorney Michael Stuart praised the investigative efforts of the West Virginia State Police, the West Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations in a press release issued by the Department of Justice.
“I commend the law enforcement officers dedicated to investigating these disgusting crimes, as well as the members of my team who prosecute these cases,” Stuart said. “Protecting our children from predators is some of the most difficult and important work we do.”
Sluss admitted that he received videos of pre-pubescent minors engaged in sex acts on April 1, 2017, via the internet.
An investigation received that Sluss was using a web-based chatting service to access and download child pornography. He further admitted to possessing more than 600 images and videos of minors engaged in sex acts and that some involved sadistic conduct.
Sluss will be sentences on July 19. He will also be required to serve a term of supervised release for at least five years when he is released from prison. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.
First Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa G. Johnston and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Rada Herrald are in charge of the prosecution.
The plea hearing was held before District Judge Robert C. Chambers.
The case is being prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative of the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.
On Feb. 14, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals suspended Sluss’ law license. That suspension was requested on Dec. 13 by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.