Former HFD captain gets 10 years after pleading guilty to child porn charges

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A former Houston fire captain has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty in a child porn case.

In 2019, Ryan William Steckler was charged with 10 counts of possession of child pornography. Now, two years later, Steckler went before a judge on Wednesday, March 31 and pleaded guilty to the charges against him. He is said to have collapsed upon learning of his sentence.

According to court documents, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children provided a cyber tip that Steckler allegedly uploaded files of graphic child porn. Houston police executed a search warrant on his online account and say they found three pictures of girls 10-12 years old in states of nudity and performing sex acts.

At the time, during a search of Steckler's house, police said they found a hard drive with seven pornographic pictures and videos of girls, 10-12 years old, 5-6 years old and 1-2 years old. They say in some cases he allegedly photoshopped faces of children he knows onto the photos.

As events unfolded in 2019, the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association said of Steckler, "We became aware of the allegations against the captain when the HPD SWAT team showed up at the fire station. Neither the captain nor the city has contacted us regarding the investigation or the criminal charges. If true, the allegations certainly are disturbing. We will continue to monitor the legal proceedings."

According to court documents, he was convicted of downloading child porn at work. The district attorney's office also confirmed a former colleague, an HFD captain, testified on Steckler's behalf at the sentencing.

Documents show Steckler's sentence will be served concurrently.

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