An Indiana man, who is adjutant for the state’s Veterans of Foreign Wars, is accused of secretly filming a 14-year-old girl in the bathroom of his home, authorities said.
Steven McDanield, 55, of Carmel, was charged with seven counts of sexual exploitation of a child and one count of child pornography, WXIN reported. The charges were filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, according to the Indianapolis Star.
McDanield is an officer with Indiana’s VFW, according to its website. He is also a trustee with local Post No. 10003 in Carmel. According to his biography on the Post 10003 website, McDanield is a former commander of the post.
The biography also noted McDanield had served in Grenada, Panama, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Germany, Korea, The Philippines and Kosovo.
According to court documents, Carmel police were contacted Jan. 2, by people saying they had found a hidden camera the previous week that appeared to face the bathroom’s sink and shower, the Star reported. The complainant said they noticed the device because a similar one had been found in another bathroom in McDanield’s home two years ago, the television station reported.
That bathroom was primarily used by a minor, WXIN reported.
According to the federal complaint, McDanield was confronted about the device and claimed it was a Wi-Fi network extender, the television station reported. McDanield later “locked himself in the bathroom” for approximately an hour, according to court documents. After leaving the bathroom, the device was “no longer there,” according to court documents.
McDanield, in an interview Monday with investigators, admitted to having images of the girl, the Star reported. According to court documents, McDanield also said he had sexual contact with the girl and photographed the act,
Investigators later searched the hard drive of McDanield’s computers and found multiple images of the girl, which were made in 2018 and 2019, according to court documents.
David Capshaw, Interim State commander for VFW of Indiana, issued a statement to WXIN:
“We were shocked and frankly disgusted to hear of the cause for the investigation of one of our state-level leaders," Capshaw said. "While this remains a fluid situation, this individual has been prohibited from participating in all VFW activity. We will continue to fully cooperate with the authorities during their investigation.”
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