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

In their petition, the Coxes said that according to Josh Powell's sister, Jennifer Graves, Steven Powell was "into pornography, prostitutes, anti-government, anti-social conduct and behaviors. Steven Powell had suggested at one time that Susan could in fact be a 'common wife' to both he and Josh."

As for whether Steven Powell should be considered a person of interest in his daughter's disappearance, Cox said, "I have no idea what to think about Steven Powell right now. I'm going to let police do the police work."

In the petition for custody, Cox also states that Kirk and Jennifer Graves, who live in Utah and are estranged from Josh and Steven Powell, are willing to step in as a third party for custody.

The Coxes also say police have wanted to interview their young grandsons about their mother's disappearance, and have a person who specializes in interviewing young witnesses lined up in Washington should they get custody, court documents state.

The petition regarding custody of the children was filed after a Pierce County judge ruled in another hearing Friday that Susan Powell's childhood diaries will not be published. 

"We do not believe they prove anything about her state of mind as a 28-year-old woman," Chuck Cox said of the diaries.

The judge ruled that not only can the diaries not be released, but any copies previously released to the media or the public should be destroyed.

In court documents related to the diary, Josh Powell wrote that his wife may have committed suicide — something he hadn't previously claimed publicly. He also said he has fully cooperated with police in the investigation into her disappearance. West Valley police, however, have called him a person of interest because they say he has not cooperated with them.

Susan Powell's sister refutes the suicide possibility.

"There's no way she would ever hurt herself," Denise Cox said.

About 12 hours before those court hearings, Steven Powell was arrested at his Puyallup home. The materials used to charge him were collected during a search warrant served on the Powell residence by West Valley police and the Pierce County Sheriff's Office on Aug. 25.

"West Valley police personnel reviewed videotapes and compact discs and found thousands of images of females being videotaped without their knowledge, including Susan Powell," according to a statement from prosecutors. "Many images were of minor females."

Ed Troyer, with the Pierce County Sheriff's Office, said Powell used high-tech camera gear to take inappropriate pictures of young girls in his neighborhood taking showers, sitting on toilets in their homes and of young girls in local parks.

"Basically he's a Peeping Tom with high-tech gear," Troyer said.

Some of the images were of children as young as 8 years old. Prosecutors say some of Steven Powell's digital images were saved onto discs labeled "taking bath" and "open window in back of house."

The 14 counts of voyeurism were based on photographs taken of two young girls, court documents state. The mother of the 8- and 10-year-old girls who were photographed without their consent was contacted after police served a search warrant on Powell's Puyallup home last month.

"Crying, she said that she never thought someone would be watching and photographing her daughters," the Pierce County Attorney's Office wrote.

The girls lived next door to Steven Powell, 61, from June 2006 to August 2007.

West Valley police said even though the search of Steven Powell's home stemmed from their investigation into the disappearance of his daughter-in-law, "this arrest is not related to the case involving the disappearance of Susan Cox Powell."

After some of the images were discovered by the West Valley officers, they were turned over to the Pierce County Sheriff's Office for further investigation.

According to an affidavit filed in Pierce County Superior Court in Washington, there were folders that also contained many graphic images of Steven Powell himself.

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