Former Maryland counselor Stephen Schaffner, 35, has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for conspiracy to sexually exploit a child and for sexual exploitation of a 6-week-old baby with the intent of producing child pornography documenting the abuse.
Schaffner was arrested in 2014 on 10 counts related to conspiring to sexually exploit a child and sexual exploitation of a child after he exchanged graphic and sexually explicit photos and videos with pediatric nurse Michael Lutts of San Diego, California, Opposing Views previously reported.
Lutts was the foster parent of the 6-week-old baby and shared explicit media with Schaffner, including a video of him performing oral sex on the infant.
“The defendant was caught because in 2014, police were still able to obtain a warrant and find images on a cell phone,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “Companies now market encrypted devices that are immune from search warrants and allow pedophiles to molest children and trade photographs with little risk of detection, even when a federal judge finds that there is probable cause and issues a court order. Law enforcement officials have a responsibility to alert law-abiding citizens about the consequences of ‘Going Dark,’ so they will not be surprised when police cannot obtain evidence of serious crimes.”
In the plea agreement, Schaffner confesses to the exchange of sexually explicit material of the baby with Lutts.
It also states that the two men discussed Schaffner traveling to California to rape the infant, the FBI reports.
Schaffner admitted he began collecting child pornography in 2004 that he obtained from the Internet. Thousands of images and videos of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct were found in Schaffner’s home on digital devices, storage media, and in online accounts.
According to electronic communications Schaffner made, he was interested in boys from “age zero” up and wanted to commit violent sexual abuse against infants, including making them cry and going so far as killing them in the course of the sexual abuse.
Upon release from prison, Schaffner will be required to register as a sex offender and will be monitored for life.