Steve Klein (ex-New Found Glory) charged with lewd conduct with a minor; lawyer, NFG respond
9:36 P.M. EDT UPDATE: New Found Glory have now posted a statement regarding Steve Klein's current legal issues. The full statement is printed below.
8:16 P.M. EDT UPDATE: We have received a statement from Debra White, Steve Klein's attorney regarding his current legal issues. That statement is printed in full below.
ORIGINAL STORY: Idobi is reporting that Steve Klein, former guitarist of New Found Glory, was arraigned in a San Luis Obispo, California court on December 12, 2013 for charges that include “lewd conduct with a minor under the age of 14” and possession of child pornography. Klein pled not guilty to the charges.
Klein was not jailed after the arraignment and will remain free until his next court appearances, which are scheduled for March 20 and April 10. His lawyer, Debra White, tells AltPress that Klein "will continue to remain free after all of his court appearances," explaining that the judge granted him release on his own recognizance, as opposed to the $150,000 bail the San Luis Obispo District Attorney Andrew Baird requested.
On the day of Klein’s arraignment, New Found Glory announced that they had parted ways with the guitarist and founding member. It was only recently (this month) that the band announced they would be remaining a four-piece without Klein.
We have reached out to the band and their management and will keep you updated as this story unfolds.
A summary of Klein’s charges are as follows:
- 2 counts of lewd conduct with a minor under the age of 14
- 3 counts of lewd conduct with a minor 14 or 15
- 1 count of intent to commit lewd acts with a minor
- 1 count of possession of child pornography
UPDATE 4:45 P.M. EDT: Here's what we know so far:
All counts levied against Klein are felonies. If convicted, here's how many years Klein could face:
- 2 counts of lewd conduct with a minor under the age of 14 — 3, 6 or 8 years per count (state prison)
- 3 counts of lewd conduct with a minor 14 or 15 — 1, 2 or 3 years per count (state prison) or not more than 1 year per count (county jail)
- 1 count of intent to commit lewd acts with a minor — sentence varies
- 1 count of possession of child pornography — up to 1 year (state prison or county jail) and/or a $2,500 fine
Worst-case scenario, if Klein is found guilty of all charges, he could go to prison for somewhere in the neighborhood of 27 years.
As of right now, Stephen Klein is not a registered sex offender, according to California's "Megan's Law" database.
Klein was married through at least January 2012, although a search through San Luis Obispo County's records finds a lis pendens (Latin for pending lawsuit regarding property ownership) filed on Sept. 21, 2012, against him by Amanda Klein, his wife. She now goes by the name Amanda Mccullough; it is unclear whether the couple is divorced or separated.
The court document above notes April 14, 2011 as the date of the violation (whether this means one or all violations is unclear); AltPress can confirm that on April 14, 2011, Klein was publicly documented as bowling with his two daughters. His whereabouts after that are unknown. The next day, he flew to Hartford, Connecticut, for a New Found Glory show on April 16.
UPDATE 8:16 P.M. EDT: AltPress has received a statement from Klein's attorney, Debra White. It reads in full:
"It is a difficult challenge to defend oneself in the media when there is a pending criminal case. This is because people are quick to assume that if a person is charged with a crime, they are also guilty as charged. And it is especially difficult because criminal defense attorneys insist that their clients not talk about the case to ensure that their constitutional rights are protected. Furthermore, attorneys are limited by law as to what can and cannot be said about a case to the public.
In the matter of Steve Klein, since his case has now been brought into issue by the media, I am permitted to make a few statements. To that effect, I offer you the following indisputable facts about the accusations:
1. Steve Klein is not accused of having any lewd actual physical contact with any minor.
2. ALL charges against Steve are derived solely from online consensual video chats between Steve and some female strangers he met on an adult website. Steve believed the females were over the age of 18.
3. The females alleged to be “minors” in this case are not known females. This means that no one, not the prosecution, not the police, and not the defense, actually know who the females are and no one knows their true age.
4. The possession of child pornography charge is based solely on Steve allegedly “possessing” the videos of chats with the female strangers from the adult website.
This is about all I am permitted to disclose at this time. But I can tell you, from my many years of experience in this specialty area of criminal defense, I wholeheartedly believe that Steve Klein is innocent of all of these charges.
Steve is devastated by these accusations. He has lost his band, his livelihood, and his ex-wife continues to push for full custody of his children using this case as her pawn while he literally fights for his life. Despite this heavy hand, Steve remains strong and hopeful that he will be vindicated."
UPDATE 9:36 P.M. EDT: New Found Glory have finally spoken out and responded with the following statement on their Facebook page:
"Upon our return from Warped Tour Australia, Steve made us aware of possible allegations that might be made against him. At that point, not knowing all the details, we made the decision to part ways in order for him to deal with these personal issues. Us 4 members of New Found Glory have given our entire lives to this band and will continue to do so. We’ve been able to play all over the world for the most amazing fans. We can't wait to get in the studio to make a new album and we can't wait to get back on the road! Just coming off the Parahoy cruise and a surprise show in our hometown we are more inspired than ever! Thank you so much to everyone around the globe for always sticking by us. The future is bright."