A Lumberton man has pleaded guilty to federal child pornography violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston Dec. 9.
Stephen John Pieper, 23, pleaded guilty to three counts of production of child pornography today before U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone.
According to court documents, an investigation into claims that Pieper had sexually exploited teen girls revealed Pieper had engaged in sexual activity with three victims, ages 15 and 16. As part of the sexual contact with the victims, Pieper used his own cellular phone to record the minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Pieper admitted to uploading the videos and images he captured of the victims into Snapchat accounts. Pieper’s exploitation of the three victims spanned 2016 through 2018, during which time Pieper was an adult who was more than 5 years older than his victims.
Pieper was indicted by a federal grand jury on April 7. He faces a minimum of 15 years and up to 30 years in federal prison. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.
This case is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Texas Attorney General’s Office and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachel Grove.