ANGOLA — A Lake Pleasant man posted a $5,000 bond for his release from Steuben County Jail after being arrested on six counts of possession of child pornography.
Stephen Paul Buzzard, 67, was arrested in Noble County on Saturday and transferred to the Steuben County Jail. Monday, he was presented with a warrant alleging six Level 5 felonies and then he posted bond for his release from jail.
His arraignment has not been set. The case was filed in Steuben Superior Court.
Each Level 5 felony count carries up to a six-year prison sentence. In cases where guilty pleas or convictions occur, judges take into account a defendant’s former record when determining a sentence.
When Indiana State Police served a warrant to search electronics in the Lake Pleasant home where Buzzard has lived the past 30 years with his wife, Buzzard admitted he was convicted of child molesting in 1988. At the time, Buzzard taught for Prairie Heights Community Schools and was accused of fondling two 11-year-old girls in his fifth-grade classroom. Buzzard resigned in early 1988 after 14 years of teaching.
In 2006, he was charged with sexual misconduct with a minor and battery for throwing straws down the shirt of a girl he worked with at McDonald’s. He pleaded guilty to battery.
Buzzard was reported to the Indiana State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force through a cyber tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children late last year. The image allegedly downloaded by Buzzard on Nov. 6, 2018 was of a 5-to-7-year-old child, partially nude, say court documents.
The search warrant was issued at the Buzzard residence on Aug. 9. Police seized four laptops and six hard drives.
A forensic examination of the devices was completed by state police experts on Sept. 18. While Buzzard allegedly took steps to “clean” files from the hard drives, investigators identified around 65,000 pictures and more than 100 videos allegedly containing child pornography. Among them were images of children under 5 years old being sexually violated by an adult male, say court documents.