WASHINGTON STATE -- The father-in-law of Susan Cox Powell, who disappeared in 2009, was arrested Monday on a charge of possessing child pornography.
Steven Powell was already convicted of 14 counts of voyeurism in 2012, after investigators discovered photographs he had taken of two young girls who lived next door.
However, before the trial began, the judge dismissed the child pornography charge. As a result, prosecutors filed and won an appeal, prompting them to reinstate the charge.
“At times, it seems like the Steven Powell show is never ending, but these should be our final charges. He should go off to prison, and that should close the door on Mr. Powell,” said Pierce County prosecutor, Mark Lindquist.
In 2012, prosecutors were searching Powell’s home in connection with his daughter-in-law’s case. The search uncovered pictures and video Powell had secretly taken of his two young neighbors. The girls, ages 8 and 10, were in various stages of undress in their bathroom.
At the time, a judge found the pictures did not rise to the level of child pornography because they did not contain sexually explicit content, or demonstrate that the girls had been posed or instructed.
“He will be arraigned. He will be tried. And I expect he will be convicted,” Lundquist said. “Child pornography does not have to be hard-core pornography to meet the definition under the law. These are naked, underage girls that he is videotaping and photographing.”
Powell served 30 months for the voyeurism convictions, but the family’s attorney believes the new case against him is strong enough to warrant another sentence.
“It’s just a very difficult thing to go through, being violated like that,” said attorney Anne Bremner, who represents the girls.
Following his first conviction, Powell was ordered to pay the family more than $1.9 million in restitution, which required he relinquish ownership of his home.
“I hope that they’ll be able to someday to kind of feel that they’ve righted the wrong, and that they can live their lives because it’s been horribly emotional,” Bremner said. “It’s been very, very impactful. It’s been devastating in a lot of ways.”
If convicted of child pornography, Powell faces up to five years in prison. He is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday afternoon.