FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (NEWS RELEASE) — A Correctional Officer employed at the Gene Spadaro Juvenile Detention Center in Mount Hope has been arrested in connection with allegations of child sexual abuse. Fayette County Sheriff Mike Fridley released the following information concerning this incident:
During the late afternoon hours of Saturday, December 31, 2016, notification was received through the Fayette County 911 Center of possible child pornography contained on a cellular telephone at a residence in the Scarbro area. When Deputies L.A. Clay and M.A. Sifers responded to the scene they were able to confirm that this cellular telephone contained both still images as well as a video of a minor child in the act of undressing and showering. Deputies Clay and Sifers were further able to confirm that the suspect had recorded this video himself as opposed to downloading these images from a computer network.
An interview was conducted with the victim at the Just For Kids, Inc. Child and Youth Advocacy Center in Oak Hill on Tuesday, January 3, 2017. During this interview investigators determined that the suspect had engaged in or attempted to engage in filming this minor child on at least one prior occasion. Based on the information developed during this preliminary investigation, Detectives obtained warrants for the arrest of the suspect.
Stephen Basham, age 37, of Scarbro was arrested by Deputy B.K. Fernandez late yesterday evening. He is charged with a single felony count of Use of a Minor Child to Produce Obscene Matter, as well as 2 misdemeanor counts of Criminal Invasion of Privacy and 2 misdemeanor counts of Possession of Child Erotica. He was remanded to the Southern Regional Jail pending his arraignment in the Fayette County Magistrate Court. Following his arraignment earlier this morning he was released on a $25,000.00 bond. According to the Administrator of the Gene Spadaro Juvenile Detention Center, Basham has been relieved of his duties pending the outcome of this criminal case. There is no indication that Basham had unsupervised contact with any of the juvenile detainees housed at the Gene Spadaro Juvenile Detention Center during the course of his employment there.
“Keeping our children safe from sexual predators is one of the primary duties and responsibilities of the Sheriff’s Office,” said Sheriff Fridley. “Any reports filed with the Fayette County Sheriff‘s Office concerning the alleged physical or sexual abuse of children will be carefully and thoroughly investigated, and anyone who harms one of our kids will be held accountable for his or her actions.”
This case remains under investigation by Detective-Corporal J.M. Pack of the Sheriff’s Office Detective Bureau and by the Just For Kids, Inc. Child and Youth Advocacy Center.