Josh Powell denies porn accusations during custody hearing

Josh Powell denies porn accusations during custody hearing »Play Video
Josh Powell is seen during a custody hearing in a Pierce County courtroom, Tuesday, September 27, 2011.
TACOMA, Wash. -- A state prosecutor says the husband of Susan Powell is the subject of a pornography and voyeurism investigation.

Josh Powell denied the accusation from the assistant attorney general for Child Protective Services, John Long, who spoke at a hearing to determine who will take custody of the couple's children.

Long said he could not divulge more about the investigation.

Susan Powell has been missing since 2009. Josh Powell has been the only named person of interest in the case, but he has never been arrested or charged.

The children were placed in state care after Josh Powell's father, Steve Powell, was arrested for and charged with voyeurism and child pornography.

Following the arrest, Susan's father, Chuck Cox, asked the court for custody of the children.

Cox was granted temporary custody of the children on Tuesday. A judge may make a decision on permanent placement of the children at a hearing scheduled for Wednesday.

In court, Josh Powell said he never saw any pornography at the house in Puyallup where he lived with his children and father. He told a judge he'd be moving out of the house and that his family would not be posting bail for Steve Powell, who remains in the Pierce County Jail.

"There is no clear and present danger" to my sons, he told the court. "They claim to have 2,000 (confiscated pornographic images). I never saw 2,000 anything."

Josh argued that the children would be safer with him than the Cox family, who he accused of orchestrating a finger-pointing campaign against him in his wife's disappearance.

"These people have a clear hatred for me and my family," he said.

Susan Powell, a native of Puyallup who later moved to Utah, was 28 when she was reported missing after she failed to show up for her stockbroker job in December 2009.

Josh Powell said he last saw his wife before he left with their two boys, ages 2 and 4, to go on a midnight camping trip in freezing temperatures on the Pony Express Trail, about 80 miles west of Salt Lake City.

"I did not harm her, I did not have anything to do with her disappearance," Josh said at Tuesday's court hearing. "I love my wife. I have looked for her in my own private way."

But the Cox family also claims at least one of the children may know something about their mother's disappearance.

"That child was looking at a magazine, and pointed to a woman's chest and said, 'Mommy owee,'" said Steve Downing, an attorney representing the Cox family.

The missing woman's family hopes a trained counselor can help bring out the truth. The family believes Josh Powell has been keeping the children away from the Cox family primarily to keep the truth sealed.

"And the reason is because those kids may know something," Downing said. "And he sure as dickens doesn't want these children talking to anybody who could identify what it is that they do know."