SKOWHEGAN — A Mercer man who’s a convicted sex offender was sentenced Wednesday to serve three years in prison after being found guilty on 18 counts of possessing sexually explicit material of a child aged 12 or under.

Steven Edwards

Steven Edwards, 50, of Mercer, was sentenced by Superior Court Chief Justice Robert Mullen in Skowhegan. A jury found him guilty on all 18 counts back in March.

After serving his three-year prison sentence, Edwards will be on probation for 18 years. Justice Mullen warned Edwards that if he violates the terms of his probation in any way, he could serve up to nine additional years in prison. As part of his probation, Edwards will become a lifelong sex offender registrant, and cannot have access to any devices that can connect to the internet.

Mullen considered several factors before coming to his sentence Wednesday, and determined that aggravating factors, including Edwards’ criminal record, ultimately outweighed other considerations such as his sense of remorse.

Edwards has been previously convicted on not only possessing child pornography, but on charges of rape, carnal knowledge and sodomy, after he sexually assaulted his 15-year-old stepdaughter in 2005 while stationed in Guam with the U.S. Navy, according to court documents.

Edwards had been serving as an engineer in the Navy for nearly 14 years at the time, was dishonorably discharged and sentenced to 10 years in a California prison. He served six years before being released on parole for good behavior while incarcerated.


Though Edwards’ defense attorney, Peter Cyr, argued Wednesday that Edwards became a model prisoner after that conviction and successfully completed sex offender treatment, the state said Edwards had clearly not yet been deterred from committing sexual misconduct.

“He was treated for it; he did it again. He went to prison for 10 years; he did it again. He faced social ridicule; he did it again,” said the state’s attorney, Paul Cavanaugh, on Wednesday. “We have to send a message here, that this is not tolerated in Maine.”

Justice Mullen agreed that Edwards is at least at a moderate risk to reoffend.

“I have found at least in some cases the best predictor of future conduct is past conduct,” Mullen said Wednesday.

Edwards’ defense for his actions was that he has struggled all his life with a pornography addiction and depression, stemming from a childhood incident of molestation. Edwards had just moved to Maine from Kansas in 2018 when he began to slip into a depression, his attorney Cyr argued, triggering a return to “sexually deviant behavior.”

Eighteen different sexually explicit images of children under the age of 12 were found on two computers at Edwards’ residence in Mercer in 2019. Earlier that year, the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit had received a referral from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that tipped them off to three separate incidences of a device associated with the home uploading potential child exploitation materials, according to court documents.

The images were described Wednesday by Justice Mullen as “repugnant.” Mullen said he had to consider the 18 child victims, exploited by these images, when deciding his sentence.

Edwards grew emotional in court Wednesday when recounting the pain his actions over the years have brought, particularly to his family.

“I need treatment,” he said. “I don’t like being a reject of society.”

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