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Fishers man sentenced to 35 years for exploitation of minors

Investigators used files on a flash drive as evidence to charge Steven Danford, 51, with multiple counts of exploitation. Danford pleaded guilty.

INDIANAPOLIS — A Fishers man was sentenced late Thursday to 35 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and attempted sexual exploitation of a minor.

Steven Danford, 51, was investigated by Fishers police in the summer of 2020 after a 5-year-old child told investigators they were molested while playing at Danford's home, and said they were sexually abused by Danford on multiple occasions.

In September 2020, after Danford moved out, court documents say his landlord was cleaning the property and found cable equipment and a flash drive. Police examined the flash drive and found three video and audio files of Danford sexually abusing the 5-year-old as the child described.

In June 2022, two additional files were identified on the flash drive. Those files depicted Danford sexually abusing a second minor when she was between the ages of 9 and 11. She told investigators she was sexually abused by Danford on multiple occasions, and was told by Danford not to tell anyone.

Homeland Security, assisted by Fishers police, conducted the investigation.

U.S. District Judge James Sweeney ordered that Danford be on supervised probation for 25 years following his release from federal prison. 

Danford, who had a previous misdemeanor conviction of third-degree assault of a child, must also register as a sex offender.

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