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Daughter's ‘CyberTip’ Led to Former PSU Abington Professor’s Arrest on Child-Porn Charges

The former Penn State Abington professor allegedly used his office to take nude photos of himself and sent them to a 16-year-old girl in Spain.

Stephen Stace, 65, of the unit block of East Pennsylvania Avenue, Upper Dublin. Credit: Montgomery County District Attorney's Office
Stephen Stace, 65, of the unit block of East Pennsylvania Avenue, Upper Dublin. Credit: Montgomery County District Attorney's Office

The daughter of a former Penn State Abington professor left a “CyberTip” about her father’s alleged sexually explicit email communication with a minor that led to his arrest, according to the criminal complaint.

Stephen Stace, 65, of the unit block of East Pennsylvania Avenue, Upper Dublin, was charged with possession of child pornography, unlawful contact with a minor, dissemination of obscene materials to a minor, corruption of minors, and criminal use of a communication facility. He was arraigned Thursday morning in front of District Judge Patricia A. Zaffarano.

According to the criminal complaint, Stace’s daughter contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in late August and provided a copy of an email she found on her father’s computer in which he communicated with a 16-year-old girl from Spain. The email is “sexual in nature” and references pictures the two had shared, the complaint continues.

Two days later, on Aug. 28, investigators met with Stace at his home, where he admitted to communicating with the girl. 

The Montgomery County Detective Bureau forensically searched Stace’s MacBook Pro and found several images of a young girl with whom Stace was communicating, according to the complaint, including images of the girl in her underwear and an image of the girl lying on a bed with her breasts exposed. There were at least five images of children under the age of 18 exposing their genitals and in sexually explicit poses, as well as several images of young men, nude and exposing their genitals and several images of nude images of Stace, according to the complaint.

Stace provided a voluntary statement Sept. 16 at the Montgomery County Detective Bureau in Norristown where he admitted to exchanging nude images with the girl from Spain, according to the criminal complaint. He also said that he had flash drives at his home that he didn’t turn over to police that contained additional images of child pornography.

In addition, Stace said he took nude photos of himself while inside his PSU Abington office and sent them to the 16-year-old girl in Spain by using his Penn State email account.

Penn State Abington Spokesman Charles Marsh said that Stace was employed by the university from September 1976 through his retirement in June 2013; his online profile on the school’s website was taken down Friday afternoon. Stace hasn’t taught at the school since the end of the spring semester, Marsh added. 

"Penn State has cooperated fully with law enforcement officials," Marsh said in an email, "and due to the ongoing investigation [the university] can't provide much more comment than that.

"Employees who retire from the university have the option to keep their e-mail account after retirement," Marsh continued. "Dr. Stace opted to keep his. That account has been deactivated."

The emails between Stace and the girl in Spain took place between January and Sept. 14, according to the criminal complaint. Late last month, investigators executed a search warrant on Stace’s Penn State email account and discovered the emails were deleted by Stace, but stored on the PSU servers, according to the complaint. 

All the emails were sexual in nature and contained sexually graphic information, including Stace repeatedly expressing his desire to meet the girl for sex, according to the criminal complaint.

His bail was set at $75,000, with a 10 percent option. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 21 at 12:15 p.m. before Zaffarano.

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Check back later for an update.

Here's What I Think October 14, 2013 at 03:15 PM
Can't even trust family anymore, can you?

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