U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of New York
(315) 448-0672
September 18, 2014

Saint Lawrence County Man and Woman Indicted on Federal Child Sexual Exploitation and Child Pornography Charges

SYRACUSE, NY—Hermon, NY residents STEPHEN M. HOWELLS, II, age 39, and NICOLE F. VAISEY, age 25, were formally charged today in federal court in Syracuse on multiple counts including conspiracy to sexually exploit children and sexual exploitation of children according to United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian and Special Agent in Charge, Andrew W. Vale of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Albany Division.

The five count indictment returned by a federal Grand Jury charged Howells and Vaisey with the following crimes: Count 1—Conspiracy to Sexually Exploit Children involving two minor female victims (V-1 and V-2), and Count 2—Sexual Exploitation of a Child (V-1). Counts 3 and 4 charge Howells and Vaisey, individually, with Sexual Exploitation of a third female child (V-3). Howells was also charged in Count 5 with Possession of Child Pornography.1

If found guilty on Counts 1-4, each defendant faces a statutory minimum of at least fifteen years’ imprisonment and a maximum term of thirty years’ imprisonment. On Count 5, Howells faces a maximum term of twenty years’ imprisonment. Both defendants may be fined up to $250,000 on each count of conviction. Upon release from prison, they would be placed on Supervised Release for a mandatory minimum at least five years and up to life. They would also be required to register as sex offenders.

United States Attorney Hartunian said, “This indictment charges Howells and Vaisey with enticing and coercing children to engage in sexual conduct and making a video recording of it. The Department of Justice is committed to the safety and well-being of every child and has placed a high priority on combating sexual exploitation of minors. We will continue to work closely with our state and local partners to identify and prosecute those who prey on our children.”

Anyone having information regarding this case may contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-CALL-FBI.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Albany Division, the New York State Police, St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office and St. Lawrence County District Attorney’s Office. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Lisa Fletcher and Tamara Thompson.

Project Safe Childhood is a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, and led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

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