Steven Powell pleads not guilty to voyeurism, porn charges; Chuck Cox blames Josh Powell for daughter's disappearance

Published: Friday, Sept. 23 2011 6:22 p.m. MDT

PUYALLUP, Wash. — Steven Powell pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of voyeurism involving young girls Friday and was ordered held on $200,000 cash only bail.

The not guilty pleas capped off a flurry of activity in the Susan Cox Powell case over 24 hours — starting with the arrest of her father-in-law Thursday night and multiple court hearings and motions on Friday related to the missing woman's childhood diaries and custody of her two children.

Appearing in a jail jumpsuit, Steven Powell's appearance in court was brief. He was charged in Pierce County, Wash., Superior Court with 14 counts of voyeurism and one count of possession of materials of minors engaged in explicit conduct. Police say they found about 2,000 photographs of young children, mostly young girls and many in partial states of undress.

If Powell does make bail, the judge said he cannot leave the Seattle and Puyallup areas, and ordered him to have no contact with the alleged victims or come within 1,000 feet of their residence. He will also not be allowed to have any contact at all with children 18 and under and must stay away from schools and playgrounds.

After the hearing, an emotional Denise Cox, Susan Powell's sister, said she believes Steven Powell either had something to do with her sister's disappearance or knows something about it.

"Give up. I wanna know, I want to know what happened to her," was her tearful message to Steven Powell.

Cox, who has not previously spoken publicly about the investigation, said she has accepted the fact that her sister is likely dead.

"I hope the truth comes out soon," she said. "It's hard. I want this all to come to a close."

Also Friday, the parents of Susan Powell for the first time directly accused Josh Powell in connection with their daughter's disappearance.

"We have been reluctant to acknowledge what has been the feeling of many others and that is simply that our daughter is dead. Whether our daughter is being held against her will somewhere or whether she is dead, we both believe the father, Josh Powell, is directly responsible for her disappearance," Chuck and Judy Cox said in court documents filed Friday.

The Coxes also Friday requested custody of Susan and Josh's two sons, ages 6 and 4, in a nearly 90-page document.

"We have prepared this custody petition in anticipation of Josh being arrested for the disappearance, kidnapping/murder of our daughter. Obviously, we are hoping against hope and sending out many prayers that our daughter is somehow, some way found alive," the Coxes said in their petition filed Friday.

The children are currently in protective custody in Washington. Another custody hearing will be held next week.

Josh Powell did not say a word to reporters as he left the courthouse Friday.

Chuck Cox was asked about all of the activity of the past 24 hours, including Steven Powell's arrest.

"I think it's a sad day for the Powell family that this has come out. I am relieved that the children are no longer in that household," he said.

Cox said he did not know if any of the alleged pornographic material seized from Steven Powell's house included his grandchildren. He called the crimes Steven Powell is accused of committing "disgusting."

"I think it very clearly shows that (Susan's) concerns were justified about Steven Powell, it supports everything she said about him," he said. “My daughter did not want those grandchildren in that house. I’m glad they’re not in there now.”

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