Santa Cruz Sex Offender Pleads Guilty to Possessing Child Pornography

San Cruz, California - Steven Hibbett pled guilty in federal court in San Jose yesterday to possession of child pornography, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced.

In pleading guilty, Hibbett, 59, of Santa Cruz, California, admitted that he downloaded child pornography from the Internet onto a laptop computer that law enforcement seized from a Santa Cruz storage locker. Hibbett also admitted that he knowingly possessed over 600 images of child pornography, including images of prepubescent minors and images portraying sadistic or masochistic conduct. Hibbett admitted that he possessed these images of child pornography while on state probation for a prior 2009 California state felony conviction for possessing child pornography.

Hibbett was originally charged by complaint and has been in custody since his initial appearance in federal court on April 18, 2013. On July 25, 2013, Hibbett was charged with an information alleging possession of child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(4)(B). Hibbett pleaded guilty to the sole count of the information and agreed to receive a 10-year prison sentence, followed by five years of supervised release.

Hibbett’s sentencing is scheduled for October 21, 2013, at 1:30 p.m. before The Honorable Edward J. Davila, U.S. District Court Judge, in San Jose. Since Hibbett has a prior conviction for a child pornography offense, he faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment and a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, restitution, and registration as a sex offender. However, any sentence following conviction will be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Fazioli is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Laurie Worthen. The prosecution is a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Santa Cruz Police Department.

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