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martedì 25 aprile 2017
Man who sexually abused a toddler sentenced
A Brunswick man who admitted in court to sexually abusing a toddler and sharing explicit photos of her was sentenced to an additional 25 years in prison on Monday.
William H. Steinhaus IV, 35, had pleaded guilty on Dec. 6 to sexual exploitation of a minor in U.S. District Court. Two days later, he pleaded guilty to two counts of sex abuse of a minor in Frederick County Circuit Court, court records show.
Monday’s sentence in Circuit Court will be served consecutively to a 25-year federal sentence already imposed in the federal case.
Prosecutors brought up a phone call from jail in which they said Steinhaus told his mother that 25 years in federal prison was too much for a first offense and the 2-year-old girl would not remember the abuse. Assistant State’s Attorney Tammy Leache said the comments demonstrated a lack of remorse.
Steinhaus maintained that he did feel bad about his actions.
“I beat myself up every day. I spent the past two years thinking about what I’ve done,” Steinhaus said. “I want help.”
In December 2014, Steinhaus took pictures of a 2-year-old girl engaged in sexual activity, photos he shared with an online community, according to his plea agreement.
Nine of the people who received the photos have been arrested, according to officials.
The child is not being named because The Frederick News-Post generally does not identify victims in sexual assault cases.
The girl’s mother, who is also not being named to protect the child’s identity, asked Judge Julie Stevenson Solt to impose a sentence that would keep Steinhaus in prison for around 40 years before he has a chance of getting out.
“[My children] must be able to work through their psychological challenges without the burden of his release,” the child’s mother said. “He deserves every minute he is in prison because this will affect her life from the age of 2 onward.”
Leache said it was likely that the abuse began before the time period known to authorities. She was also confident, based on messages Steinhaus exchanged with other social media users, that it would have escalated.
Steinhaus’ attorney, Carl Somerlock, emphasized that there was no proof of abuse before December 2014. He said his client was not himself when he abused the child.
Steinhaus’ stepsister had recently died, Somerlock said, and he had begun taking medication for depression that caused him periods of agitated confusion. Steinhaus’ marriage was also at a bad place at the time, the attorney said, compounding his stress.
Somerlock asked for a suspended sentence, because a concurrent sentence could make his client ineligible for treatment programs.
Steinhaus’ mother, Helen Steinhaus, said her son needed help and she asked the judge to emphasize treatment.
“My son was crying out for help and everyone ignored him, including me,” his mother said.
Steinhaus will register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.