March 19. 2013 7:49PM

Hampton man to face single trial for alleged child porn

Union Leader Correspondent

BRENTWOOD - Prosecutors have won permission from a judge to consolidate two trials against a 22-year-old Hampton man facing charges that he recorded a sexual encounter with a young girl and posted the video on YouTube.

Robert Stephens, who is being held at the Rockingham County jail, will go on trial for the two cases on the week of June 17, a judge decided. The latest indictments against Stephens were handed up by a Rockingham County grand jury in December. Stephens was indicted on two counts of manufacturing child sexual abuse images, and single counts of attempted aggravated felonious sexual assault, and felonious sexual assault.

Stephens allegedly met a 14-year-old Massachusetts girl at a beach last May and later recorded her having sex with a 15-year-old boy at a cottage in Hampton, prosecutors said. Prosecutors say Stephens, then 19, used a laptop camera to record the encounter, and attempted to join in.

"(He) is seen on said video to have removed his shirt and to give the camera the 'thumbs up', " Deputy County Attorney Tom Reid said in court papers.

Prosecutors say Stephens was pulled away from the girl by another person in the room.

Hampton police began investigating Stephens on Jan. 19 after a Newbury, Mass. school resource officer told them that a female student complained she found a video of herself online, according to a police affidavit.

Reid argued that the recording of the video and Stephens' attempt to have a sexual encounter with the girl were a "single criminal episode."

"The subsequent posting of the video is logically and factually connected to the other charges," Reid said in his argument.

Investigators with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force were able to link Stephens to the YouTube account that had control of the video, a police affidavit says.

After recording the teenage girl, Stephens continued to contact her, sending her a message through Facebook, police said. In one message he told her she should "become a prostitute" and could "sell herself" for money, the affidavit says.

He also allegedly told the girl that "he wanted money" and could facilitate more sexual encounters, the police affidavit says.

"He stated he would 'set it up' so that she could have sex for money," said Hampton Det. Chris Gilroy in a sworn affidavit. Stephens allegedly told the teenage girl "it's not that bad," police said.

Stephens told investigators that he owned the video during a police interview and said, "I know I am going to prison," according to the affidavit.