A criminal prosecutor has been handed his own prison sentence for secretly recording his sexual encounters with women without their consent — and, in the case of one of the victims, after promising leniency in the pending case against her.
Daniel Steffen, 52, will serve 18 months behind bars for using his iPad to record himself having sex with two different women in three separate encounters in 2018. He was convicted in April of three counts of capturing an intimate representation without consent under circumstances where one would have a reasonable expectation of privacy. He faced up to 10 1/2 years behind bars.
One of the women, identified in court documents as Victim 1, was actually being prosecuted by Steffen — then an assistant district attorney in Burnett County, Wisconsin — when she met him.
“Victim #1 said she first met the defendant at a pretrial conference for a case where she was facing charges for violating a restraining order obtained by the father of her child,” the criminal complaint against Steffen says. “The defendant was the ADA handling the case.”
The complaint says that Steffen gave Victim 1 his personal phone number at that pretrial conference, and after exchanging text messages over the next few days, they started having sex — including “at his office during work hours,” according to the complaint.
The recorded encounters occurred on Feb. 11, Aug. 8, and Sept. 11, 2018.
“It does not appear that Victim #1 knew she was being recorded,” the complaint said.
Steffen, however, clearly did.
About an hour into one of the videos, “while the defendant and Victim #1 are still engaged in sex, the defendant looks at the camera, sticks his tongue out, and winks several times,” the complaint said.
The second victim also didn’t know she was being recorded, according to the complaint. Steffen appears to have discussed potential criminal matters with her.
“Later in the video, the defendant and Victim #2 talk about how she could avoid criminal charges for hitting a mailbox,” the complaint said.
Investigators were tipped off by a tip from a witness who said that Victim 1 “had openly talked about having sexual relations with a Burnett County Assistant District Attorney (ADA) in exchange for leniency on criminal cases the female had pending in Burnett County.”
In executing a search warrant at Steffen’s home, investigators seized a “black iPad from the dresser of the master bedroom.” The illegally-recorded sexual encounters were on that iPad.
In addition to his prison time, Steffen must serve two years of extended supervision, four years of probation, and placement for 10 years on Wisconsin’s sex offender registry.
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