Former Rowan County man faces 25 years in federal prison after pleading to child pornography

Published 4:16 pm Wednesday, December 20, 2017

GREENSBORO — A former Rowan County man faces 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of production of child pornography, said Sandra Hairston, acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina.

Stephen Paul Aydelotte, 48, of Charlotte, pleaded guilty Sept. 14 and was sentenced Tuesday. After his prison sentence ends, Aydelotte will be on lifetime supervised release. He was previously convicted in Utah of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor and twice failed to register as a sex offender. He also failed to register as a sex offender while living in Salisbury.

In February, Aydelotte told authorities that while he was living in High Point in 2012, he took photographs of himself sexually exploiting a prepubescent minor. Investigators found the pictures on Aydelotte’s phone. He also admitted to sexually molesting two minor girls in Utah in 1989.

The case was investigated by the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations.

Authorities recommended that Aydelotte receive a degree of leniency in his sentence because he voluntarily disclosed his criminal conduct, which they say would not likely have come to light otherwise.

In 2013, Rowan County sheriff’s officials said that when Aydelotte moved to North Carolina from Utah, he did not notify Utah authorities of his move and did not notify Rowan officials once he arrived in Salisbury.

A Salt Lake City detective told Rowan officials that Aydelotte had moved to Salisbury. Rowan officials contacted the U.S. Marshals Service for assistance.

In that investigation, detectives found a cellphone, and Aydelotte gave them consent to search it. Investigators found nude pictures of a female and a child on the phone. The pictures were found in an app titled “gallery” and also a messaging application called “Kik” that allows users to transmit text messages and photos.

The federal case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat online child sexual exploitation and abuse.