Man accused of viewing child porn at Snohomish library

Man accused of viewing child porn at Snohomish library »Play Video
Steven Geue, 55, faced a judge Thursday charged with felonies--including possession of depictions of a minor for sexual motivation.
SNOHOMISH, Wash. -- Most people go to the library for the books.

Some, for the music. But deputies say a Snohomish man went to do something illegal, and it took another patron to point it out call the sheriff.

Steven Geue, 55, went before a judge Thursday facing four felonies counts, including possession of child pornography.

Detectives believe Geue used a Snohomish library computer to access photos of naked children engaged in sex acts with adults, and then transferred the images to his cell phone using a USB cable.

Prosecutors say another library patron spotted Geue checking out child porn on the library computer on April 20 and called 911. The computer in question has since been replaced, but only after detectives took the original as evidence.

Records show that Geue's criminal history stretches back to 1982 and includes more than a dozen convictions for domestic violence, theft, and other issues, but no arrests or convictions for sex crimes in Washington state.

Sno-Isle Library spokesman Ken Harvey said the library computers do have filters, but adult users can choose to browse the Internet without them.

"If a library staff person becomes aware that illegal material is being accessed, we have a procedure where we call 911," Harvey said. "If we suspect that something has happened, we will warn the person."

"Public libraries try to maintain a very delicate balance," Harvey added. "There's a balance between enabling people in our society to have access to information that's available and constitutionally protected but not providing access to things that are illegal. If we become aware of it, we notify the authorities. With the filters in place it tries to basically discourage a person from getting there. If their motivation or their intent is to go after illegal activity, it's very difficult for public library staff to stop that from happening."

In the last 12 to 13 years, most libraries have signed on to the Child Internet Protection Act and have been working to provide filtered access to Internet, Harvey said. He added that computers in the children's section have automatic filters on them, which block access to illicit and illegal material.

In the meantime, at the library on Maple Avenue on Thursday, parents and patrons were just getting word of what allegedly happened.

"Oh no. That's not good, not with all the kids and everybody else," said Roberta Smith of Lake Stevens. "My kids used to be here all the time when they were in school. It's very upsetting to have him in the library, with the kids, looking at this information. The kids - they feel completely safe here."

"People can always find ways around things, so it doesn't surprise me," library patron Maggie Casey said. "Especially in a public area - that's not okay."

"I thought the library computers actually had restrictions as to what Web sites you can go on. Even some other Web sites that aren't necessarily bad - they're blocked for your protection," said Janelle Reimers of Snohomish. "If you really need to use the library computer it should just be for homework or looking for jobs or something like that."

Along with the computer, detectives say "thumbnail" images on Geue's cell phone will also serve as evidence.

A judge set Geue's bail at $100,000.