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East Baton Rouge child porn suspect to move to New Iberia pending trial, judge says

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BATON ROUGE — A former East Baton Rouge Parish contractor pleaded not guilty to distribution of child pornography Tuesday and a federal magistrate said he could go live with his father in New Iberia pending a trial.

Blake Steiner can have no contact with children, including his own, and will be not be able to travel or go onto the internet, Magistrate Judge Erin Wilder-Doomes said. Steiner can be released to his father's custody Wednesday, the judge said. During the duration of his release, Steiner will be under home detention and be required to wear an ankle monitor.

A trial was set for Aug. 5. Steiner faces at least five years and up to 20 years in prison.

According to prosecutors, Steiner sent an obscene video involving a child to an undercover investigator and in an online discussion said he was interested in bestiality and incest. He was arrested last week after a raid at his home.

An affidavit filed with the court said Steiner sought admission to a group through a "Kik" app, and to gain access he said he was "into teens" and interested in bestiality and incest. The government said that Steiner later sent an agent a video of child pornography involving a child under 13. 

East Baton Rouge Parish said Steiner was not employed by the city-parish directly but rather an employer with a contracting and building inspection company that the city-parish worked with. The city-parish said it would no longer work with Steiner, who was the chief building officer contracted by the city-parish.

Federal prosecutors wanted Steiner detained until his trial. Part of their argument was a complaint Steiner received while as an Uber driver, which alleged that he committed sexual assault on a 20-year-old customer. Although he was fired following the complaint, no charges were filed and law enforcement found that the encounter was consensual, a Homeland Security agent who investigated Steiner said on the witness stand.

The judge ultimately sided with the defense, who argued that Steiner was not a danger to the community due because of his ties to the community, no previous history of crime and interviews with five of his six children that revealed he had had no inappropriate contact with them.

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