TACOMA – A registered sex offender currently jailed in Skamania County pleaded guilty Monday to production of child pornography. Steven Lee McBride, 51, faces a mandatory minimum 15-years in prison when sentenced on Oct. 26. Under the terms of the plea agreement, prosecutors will recommend no more than 25-years in prison, and the defense will recommend no less than 18 years in prison. Judge Settle is not bound by the recommendations and can impose any sentence up to the maximum of 30 years in prison.
According to records filed in the case, in 2007, McBride was convicted in Idaho of molesting two children under the age of 16 and was required to register as a sex offender following a state prison term of up to 15-years. Upon release from prison, McBride moved to a residence in Skamania County. There he moved next door to a distant relative and befriended that neighbor’s child. Between September 2017 and May 2019, McBride made sexually explicit images of the child by hiding a camera in the bathroom, molesting the child while the child slept and ultimately by posing as a school friend of the child online to demand the child send sexually explicit images. McBride threatened to kill the child’s family if the child did not continue to provide the photos.
Law enforcement learned of the production of child pornography when investigators in Queensland, Australia became aware of McBride providing sexually explicit images online in their jurisdiction. An undercover officer contacted McBride and got additional information about the identity of the victim from McBride. The Vancouver Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations moved quickly to alert the victim’s parent and arrest McBride on June 7, 2019.
McBride is charged in Skamania County Superior Court for the hands-on molestation. Under the terms of the plea agreement his state and federal sentences will run concurrently.
The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations with assistance from the Vancouver Police Department and the Queensland Australia Police.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Angelica Williams.
HSI is a worldwide leader in the fight against the sexual exploitation of children. Prior to the creation of the agency in 2003, legacy U.S. Customs special agents investigated the disbursement of illegal child pornography that was often sent by mail or purchased overseas.
With the advent of the Internet, the sharing and trading of child pornography now primarily occurs online. In addition to the legacy expertise, HSI special agents also have the authority to investigate the illegal movement of people and goods across U.S. borders, and because the Internet is borderless, the sharing of contraband online is an international crime. An image on the Web of a child being sexually abused can be seen by anyone anywhere in the world.
Operation Predator draws on the agency’s unique investigative and enforcement authorities to safeguard children. And, with 200 U.S. offices and more than 70 offices overseas, HSI has the ability to follow a case – to rescue a victim or arrest a predator – wherever in the world it may lead.