An ex-counselor is now facing multiple charges for allegedly sexually exploiting a 6-week-old baby and exchanging sexually graphic photos and videos of the newborn with the baby’s foster father.
According to the United States Attorney’s office, a federal grand jury indicted Stephen Schaffner, 34, of Greensboro, Maryland, on Wednesday for the sexual abuse of the baby boy, who was born prematurely.
The document alleges Schaffner conspired with San Diego-based pediatric nurse Michael Lutts, 50, to sexually abuse the infant. Lutts allegedly sent photos of the abuse to Schaffner digitally, via cellphone and a messaging app.
Lutts was the baby boy’s foster parent. He brought the child home on Aug. 4 and, according to the indictment, texted Schaffner that evening images of the infant.
Over the next several hours, investigators say Schaffner allegedly exchanged numerous graphic and sexually explicit messages with Lutts about engaging in sexually explicit conduct with the baby.
Lutts sent Schaffner videos with the infant, including images of an adult performing oral sex on the baby, according to the document.
The 10-count indictment says Schaffner allegedly directed Lutts to sexually abuse the baby in order to produce the images and send them his way.
In April 2014, authorities obtained a federal search warrant for an email address of a person who was distributing child pornography, which led to other suspects doing the same.
On Aug. 26, officials obtained a search warrant for Lutts’ San Diego home and seized a cellphone containing images and videos of him allegedly sexually molesting the baby boy.
Lutts is currently facing federal charges stemming from the abuse in San Diego. A grand jury indictment filed on Sept. 26 alleges Lutts may have also abused another child in the same manner – an 11-month-old girl.
Meanwhile, Schaffner faces between 15 and 30 years in prison for his charges, plus a lifetime of supervised release. He appeared in U.S.District Court in Baltimore Wednesday.
The indictment said Schaffner was a clinical professional counselor in Maryland but had his license suspended on June 14. He was also a licensed associate counselor in Arizona until his Arizona license expired in 2011.
Anyone with information related to Schaffner’s case should contact the FBI at (410) 265-8080.