Suspect was wrongly identified as a molester

Times Staff Writer

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles on Friday apologized for incorrectly describing an Upland man arrested earlier this week on child pornography charges as a convicted child molester and registered sex offender.

Evan Craig Stephens, 36, has no prior convictions for child exploitation, said U.S. attorney spokesman Thom Mrozek in a statement released Friday. “On Wednesday, I issued a press release that incorrectly identified an Upland man as a convicted child molester and a registered sex offender. This information is not correct,” Mrozek said in the statement. Stephens “does not have any prior child exploitation offenses,” Mrozek said.

“I apologize to Mr. Stephens and to you for this error,” Mrozek said in a statement released to news organizations.

Stephens, who is scheduled to go on trial Oct. 14 in federal court, was among seven Southern California men arrested Tuesday on suspicion of possessing child pornography after an eight-month investigation by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The investigation led to charges being filed against 52 people for allegedly using peer-to-peer computer networks to exchange graphic images and videos. Mrozek did not immediately respond to calls seeking further comment on the matter.