A Le Roy man accused of making at least one sexually explicit video involving a minor isn't being held in jail because of the case's individual circumstances, said the Le Roy Police Department detective who made the arrest.
Det. John Condidorio said it was his recommendation that Stephen M. Smith be released to the supervision of Genesee Justice following his arraignment in Le Roy Town Court on charges of possessing a sexual performance by a child, promoting sexual performance of a child and use of a child in a sexual performance.
The detective said such decisions are rendered on a singular basis and the law.
"Each case needs to be looked at individually and it's totally (up to) the police department, the district attorney's office and the courts," Condidorio said.
It is the "looking at the totality of the case" that explains, Condidorio said, why Smith's case wasn't referred to federal authorities, and why supervision by Genesee Justice while the charges are pending fits the circumstances.
Smith, however, may yet face statutory rape charges once State Police detectives complete their own investigation.
The video, or videos, allegedly involving a minor from Le Roy, were not made in the Village of Le Roy. Condidorio jurisdiction is confined to the village.
Meanwhile, a person who has identified herself as Smith's girlfriend, who is also the minor child who may have been involved in the videos, has left comments on Facebook and sent an e-mail to The Batavian defending Smith.
The girl said Smith is embarrassed by the charges and upset by reading accounts of the case in the media.
She said she's known Smith since 2006 and they've been involved in a relationship since Aug. 24, 2008. She said he is the father of her 8-month-old child.
"I'm writing because I am concerned with what was stated in the posts about Stephen's charges," the girl wrote. "I fully understand that what I have to say most likely won't matter to anyone because people will judge him because of this no matter what is said or isn't said. That is fine, because anyone that KNOWS him on a personal level, knows that he is not some sick predator."
The girl writes that Smith used a camera that had been given to her as a present and indicates that making the video or videos was her idea.
She said she left the camera at Smith's residence unintentionally and it was seized when detectives searched the place.
"I had Stephen call the day after they confiscated our things and informed them that there was going to be inappropriate content on my camera," she wrote.
Condidorio said he couldn't discuss the content of the girl's Facebook post or even confirm that the victim was female.
He said he was prohibited from discussing the case in detail and could only talk in general terms about how similar cases are handled.
"It is our policy in the police department to try and protect victims of any crime as much as possible," Condidorio said. "But it is still a free country and it is not our policy to try and control the actions of victims."
Even though the girl sees herself as somebody who is in a relationship with the accused, at 16 or 17, under New York state law, she is not old enough to consent to sexual relations.
Besides the alleged video involving the girl, Smith is also accused of using a video file sharing service to pass along and download videos involving other minor children engaged in sexual activity.
The type of service Smith is accused of using is called peer-to-peer, which means users install software that allows them to share the contents of specific folders on their own hard drives.
The case was brought to the attention of Le Roy Police when New York State Police Computers Crime Unit notified the Le Roy Police Department that a person at 41 Elm St. in Le Roy allegedly possessed, and was sharing sexual videos of, underage children via the Internet.
Condidorio stressed that there is no evidence that Smith shared video involving the alleged local victim in this case.
The girl said she and Smith were upset when the case was first reportedly publicly.
"It sincerely made me nauseous and shaky when I first read this article on Wednesday night -- to know that the reputation of someone you love has been destroyed for something blown so far out of proportion," the girl wrote.
"And to know that he would be viewed in a disgusting way by the public. The look on Stephen's face when he read this article was unexplainable. I have never felt how I have these past few days."