Susan Powell's Dad-in-Law Took Naked Photos of Young Girls: Police

Steve Powell used telephoto lens to take pictures of girls in bathrooms.

ByABC News
September 23, 2011, 11:21 AM

Sept. 23, 2011— -- Steven Powell, the father-in-law of missing Utah momSusan Powell, is charged with using a telephoto lens to take photos of two young girls in the bathroom of a neighoring house.

The photos are among thousands he secretly took of women's buttocks and breasts, according to charges filed against him today. Powell, who arrived in court today in an orange jumpsuit for his first appearance before a judge, is being held on $200,000 bail.

Among the females photographed was his daughter-in-law Susan Powell, prosecutors said.

Powell, 61, was arrested Thursday night by Pierce County, Wash., sheriff's officers on 14 counts of voyeurism and one count of posessing child pornography after police raided his home in August and found thousands of images and videos of women and girls.

Prosecutors told a judge today that the charges represent just the beginning of what was found in the files taken from the home, and that Powell had been taking photos and videos for at least 10 years.

Most of the charges focus on two girls, age 8 and 10, who lived in a house behind Powell's from 2006 to 2007. Powell would allegedly photograph them from his bedroom window, focusing his lens on their chests and genitals, according to the charges.

The girls' mother, who confirmed to police that the people in the photo were her children, cried when police told her they had been photographed naked, according to court documents.

Steve Powell has shared his home with his son Josh since Susan Powell's disappearance in 2009. Josh and Susan's children also lived there, though they have since been placed in foster care while Child Protective Services investigate the home.

Susan Powell's parents filed to gain custody of the children in court this morning. Her father, Chuck Cox, told ABC News, "I'm surprised as to the extent of the charges. I had no idea, but I know my daughter was uncomfortable with him. I'm also surprised as to the extent of what they found."

Police in West Valley City, where Josh and Susan lived, executed the search warrant on the home as part of the missing person investigation. After reviewing the images and videos they found there, they notified Puyallup, Wash., police, according to the documents.

Susan Powell's Picture Among Father-in-Law's Stash of Secret Pictures

Powell's estranged daughter Jennifer Graves told ABC News that her father, had problems with pornography for years, and that she's glad he was finally arrested.

"I knew what his character was," she said. "He's had issues in the past with pornography and unfaithfulness in his marriage. I knew that there were problems there, and I'm glad they finally came to the surface and that they arrested him. Hopefully it will prevent him from harming innocents in the future."

Graves, who has two children with her husband, Kirk, said she is thankful she broke off her relationship with her father years ago.

"Right now, the thing I am most grateful for is that I never let my children develop a relationship with him. I knew from the beginning there were problems and I didn't want them exposed to that," Graves said.

She said she did not know whether her brother Josh Powell -- Susan Powell's husband and the lone person of interest in her disappearance -- had seen the tapes or had similar tendencies.

Calls to the Powell home were not returned.