IUPUI Volleyball Coach Gets Off with Just Four Years Probation for Child Porn

Steven Payne
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department

Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis’ volleyball coach Steven Payne will not serve a day of prison time for pedophilia.

As the Epstein “Lolita Express” case continues to disgust the nation, an Indianapolis man has managed to slip all prison time — despite admitting to the 146 items of “possible” child pornography found in his possession. The 55-year-old Payne had the videos and images stored on two thumb drives recovered by arresting officers in November 2018. Authorities said the videos contained numerous images, estimating around 200 all told.

Payne faced up to 31 years for the 11 felony counts, one of which was a level 5 count of “possession of child pornography with an aggravating factor,” for especially exploitative images. Payne pleaded guilty of the most serious count in a deal to have the other charges dropped.

But Payne will not spend a day behind bars, after Marion Superior Court Judge Grant W. Hawkins let him go with “a four-year suspended sentence followed by four years of probation,” according to state prosecutor’s office spokesman Michael Leffler.

Judge Hawkins reasoned that the suspended sentence “gives [Hawkins] control over him for a longer period of time.” He said “the plea agreement capped initial incarceration at two years,” and “with a two-year sentence, he’s out in 18 months or less.”

Hawkins also said he had to separate between possession and production of the images. “With possession, there is a separator between him and the victim,” he said. “With the other, the victim is in the room. That’s a whole different deal.”

The International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children’s director Alicia Kozakiewicz criticized the idea. “There is this fallacy, this belief that viewing images and videos is a victimless crime and that is absolutely not true,” she said.

The judge further justified his ruling by saying the net effects of the conviction would be ongoing. “In addition to this sentence, his life is ruined,” he said. “He won’t work in his field. He won’t coach. He won’t work in education. He will have to find something else to do for a career.”

Judge Hawkins also granted Payne’s request to complete his probation in Florida. “Defendant can transfer probation to Florida upon completion of a sex offender program or if Florida has an equivalent sex offender program,” Hawkins wrote in his comments. “Florida must agree to accept the defendant. Defendant is not allowed internet access at home or work.”

Payne’s attorney has refused to comment on the case.

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