Susan Powell father-in-law pleads not guilty to voyeurism

Steven Powell, the father-in-law of missing Susan Powell, pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of voyeurism and possession of child pornography.

Susan Powell missing poster

Appearing in Pierce County Superior Court in Tacoma, Powell, 61, entered the pleas to the charges that led to his arrested Thursday night in Puyallup. Powell, who was shackled and in an orange jail jumpsuit, was ordered held on $200,000 bail.

Pierce County deputies found thousands of photographs and videos of adult and juvenile females — including Susan Powell — nude or in various state of undress when they searched the Powell family home last month, authorities said. He is charged with 14 felony counts of voyeurism and one count of possession of child pornography.

Susan Powell update 2011

Authorities said the case is not directly linked to the disappearance of Susan Powell, formerly of Puyallup, who vanished in Utah in 2009. Police there have been searching for her remains in a Utah desert.

Her husband, Josh Powell, who has moved to Puyallup with their two sons since his wife disappeared, is considered a person of interest in the case but has not been arrested.

After Friday's arraignment, Susan Powell's sister, Denise Cox, said she was happy Steven Powell was behind bars. She said she believes he knows more about her sister's disappearance than he's revealed to authorities.

On Aug. 25, police from West Valley, Utah, along with Pierce County deputies, searched the Powell home in the 18600 block of 94th Avenue Court East in Puyallup.

That search yielded computers, photos, digital media and video recordings. The girls in the photos are unclothed and taking a bath, using the toilet and getting dressed or undressed, the Pierce County prosecuting attorney's office said Thursday night.

Steven Powell, who in recent interviews claimed he had sexual interaction with his daughter-in-law before she disappeared, was arrested at 9:30 p.m. Thursday on a warrant.

"The images appeared to be obtained without the consent or awareness of the persons in the pictures and videos," Detective Ed Troyer said. "Some of the images were focused on females' buttocks, breasts or private areas."

Some of the images were of Susan Powell, according to the charging documents, but many of the images were of other females. Some images appeared to have been videotaped through windows with a telephoto lens.

Authorities were able to identify and contact several victims. None said they had given permission or were aware of being photographed or videotaped in their homes.

The charges are Class C felonies and conviction typically brings a sentence of five years, officials said.

Powell was being booked into the Pierce County Jail Thursday night and is expected to be arraigned Friday.

His arrest is the latest twist in a missing-person case that has riveted local media.

In a related development, a Tacoma court commissioner said Friday he won't decide on the custody of the missing Utah woman's two young boys until after Child Protective Services finishes its investigation.

A lawyer for Susan Powell's father argued Friday that the children should be removed from Steven Powell's home following his arrest.

Child Protective Services confirmed that the boys had been placed in foster care.

KOMO-TV reports that at another court hearing Friday, a judge issued a permanent injunction forbidding Josh and Steven Powell from publishing any material from Susan Powell's journals and ordered them to return or destroy any journals already published.

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