Jurors have convicted a former western Wisconsin prosecutor of secretly recording sexual encounters with two women while leading them to believe he could help them with their pending criminal cases.
Daniel P. Steffen, 52, was found guilty Thursday in St. Croix County District Court on all three counts of representations depicting nudity in connection with the sexual encounters in 2018, when he was a Burnett County assistant district attorney.
Steffen, now a resident of Florida, was taken into custody upon his conviction and booked into the Polk County jail, where he remains held without bail ahead of sentencing, which has yet to be scheduled.
"Those who abuse their positions of authority must be held accountable," read a statement from Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul. "Thank you to the special agents, prosecutors, and victim services professionals who all worked to get justice in this case."
According to the criminal complaint:
Early in 2020, state investigators were alerted that a woman "openly talked" about having sex with Steffen "in exchange for leniency on criminal cases [she] had pending in Burnett County."
In February 2020, the woman first denied to a state investigator that she had sex with Steffen and said her cases ended with her paying a fine.
Three months later, the woman admitted to having sex with Steffen. She said they first met at a pretrial conference in his office while he was prosecuting her for violating a restraining order. She said he gave her his cellphone number, and they began exchanging texts.
Steffen eventually invited her to his home, where they had sex. They continued having sex there and at his office during work hours.
The investigator searched Steffen's home and seized an iPad from his bedroom dresser. On the device was a video showing Steffen and the woman having sex on Aug. 8, 2018. A similar video was shot on Sept. 11, 2018. In both cases, the woman said she didn't know she was being recorded.
A third video was found on the iPad, from Feb. 11, 2018, showing Steffen and a different woman having sex. At one point, the two can be heard talking "about how she could avoid criminal charges for hitting a mailbox," the charges read.
The woman told the investigator she and Steffen had multiple "hookups" in 2018 and didn't know she was being recorded during one encounter.