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Putnam County lawyer arrested on federal child pornography charge

Stephen Sluss, seen here in a 2013 interview with Eyewitness News, is facing a federal child pornography charge. (WCHS/WVAH)

A Putnam County lawyer and former assistant prosecuting attorney in Kanawha County is facing a federal child pornography charge.

Stephen Sluss is charged with receipt of child pornography after an investigation that started in May, according to a criminal complaint filed Dec. 4 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.

Talia Divita, a trooper with the Crimes Against Child Unit, wrote in the complaint that on or about April 1, Sluss used the screen name "mckicker40" to receive child pornography on an online group chat site called ChatStep. On May 13, ChatStep alerted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that the user "mckicker40" had uploaded an image of possible child pornography.

Divita reviewed the image on May 22 and wrote that the image depicts a minor female, approximately 12 to 15 years old, in a sexual position.

An IP address provided by Suddenlink, indicated that the subscriber was Stephen C. Sluss, an attorney located at Beechwood Estates in Scott Depot.

In June, a special agent when to Sluss' law office in Hurricane. According to the complaint, Sluss admitted to using ChatStep to download child pornography on his computer at his home. After the interview, a search warrant was obtained for Sluss' home. Sluss then allegedly provided another voluntary statement where he admitted to receiving child pornography images on his home computer. He said he saved them in a folder named "my videos" on his computer.

During a search of his hard drives, an analyst allegedly discovered that Sluss knowingly received other child pornography videos of young girls between 5 and 7 years old.

Sluss served more than 20 years as a Kanawha County employee, serving in various positions including chief counsel to the assessor and county manager. He also served in the House of Delegates and as a Mineral County commissioner in the 1980s.

Sluss is currently incarcerated in Kentucky.

He has a preliminary hearing Dec. 14 in front of U.S. Magistrate Cheryl Eifert.

According to court documents, Sluss is being represented by Mark Plants.



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