Steven Powell charged with 14 counts of voyeurism, 1 count of child pornography

Josh PowellCrime, Law and JusticeJustice System

Chuck Cox' daughter, Susan Cox Powell, vanished from her Utah home almost two years ago.

He believes her husband and father-in-law have tried to ruin Susan Cox Powell's reputation ever since. However, sitting in his backyard in Puyallup on Saturday, Cox said Steven Powell's arrest earlier this week proves what kind of family his daughter married into.

"A lot of people have been watching this are going, 'Oh, now we understand,'" Cox said.

The day before, dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit, Steven Powell entered a Pierce County courtroom for the first time.

Steven Powell, Susan Cox Powell's father-in-law, has been charged with possessing child pornography and secretly videotaping women, including his daughter-in-law.

"This defendant has been videotaping women and girls without their knowledge or consent for at least the last 10 years," said Pierce County Prosecutor Grant Blinn.

During a search of Steven Powell's home last month near Graham, investigators say they seized computers, videotapes and other media that revealed disturbing evidence. Detectives said they found thousands of videos and images of young girls and women, including two children who lived next door to the suspect.

"It appears the defendant shot the video from his bedroom through his window into the victims' bathroom window," said Pierce County prosecutor Mark Lindquist. "The girls, ages 8 and 10, can be seen using the toilet, getting dressed and undressed and bathing."

The 61-year-old was arraigned on 14 counts of voyeurism and one count of child pornography. He remains behind bars, but Cox remains unsatisfied.

"It's distracting from finding my daughter," he said. "OK, this guy's weird over here, but that doesn't tell us where she is."

However, neighbors in Steven Powell's neighborhood said they're happy he's in jail.

"It's disgusting that this is happening," said Michelle Smith, a mother of a 2-year-old girl. "I slept really well last night when I saw him arrested. Sometimes you don't know who you're living next to. Even when you do, it's really scary."

"I'm scared because of my boys," said Tonya Depasquale, who lives nearby. "I don't have daughters, but it makes me nervous because now I’m suspicious with my own neighbors."

In Utah, the discovery of the pictures did not surprise Steven Powell's estranged daughter, Jennifer Graves. She said she heard stories of strange behavior when Susan Cox Powell and her husband, Josh Powell, lived with Stephen Powell.

"(Susan) told me about when they were living there, that they had sheets up around their bedroom area and in the dining room, because she had caught him spying on her when she was trying to change,"  Graves said.

Graves told a news crew in Utah her father had a "pornography problem" and was verbally abusive to her growing up.

The investigation and arrest of Steven Powell is not related directly to the search for Susan Cox Powell, but detectives said they discovered the sexually explicit images while searching for evidence of her disappearance.

"It's another strange twist in this saga," Lindquist said. "This isn't what police were looking for, but given all that's happened in the course of this story, it's not too shocking."

Steven Powell pleaded not guilty and will be in court Oct. 11. A Pierce County judge set bail at $200,000 and Steven Powell is not allowed to have any contact with minors.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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