Stephen Schaffner: Sexual Abuse Counselor Gets 35 Years For Horrific Sex Abuse Of Premature Baby

Stephen Schaffner, 34, once offered his help to victims of child sexual abuse as a licensed counselor in the states of Arizona and Maryland. But on Thursday, Schaffner was sent to prison for 35 years for his own extraordinarily horrifying sexual offense, a case of child sex abuse with the most vulnerable, helpless victim imaginable — a six-week-old, prematurely born baby.

Schaffner (pictured above left), now of Greensboro, Maryland, hooked up through the internet with a pediatric nurse in San Diego, California, Michael Lutts (pictured above right). The two were in contact when Lutts, who worked at Kaiser Permanente hospital, was for some unfathomable reason assigned to take the little preemie boy home with him as a foster child.

Schaffner and Lutts exchanged numerous text messages that FBI investigators found on the former counselor's iPhone, messages in which the two men discussed in highly graphic terms the abuse that they desired to inflict on the infant.

Schaffner then gave Lutts explicit instructions on how he wanted to see the baby sexually abused, and requested that Lutts send him photos via text message. The FBI found those photos, of Lutts abusing the helpless and crying six-week-old baby, on Schaffner's phone, the Bureau said in a statement.

In their conversation, Schaffner also told Lutts that he planned to fly to San Diego so he could rape the baby himself.

Unfortunately, the case was, in the words of federal prosecutor Zachary Myers, "a culmination of a pattern of behavior by Mr. Schaffner."

The FBI, investigators said in a statement released July 9, found "thousands of images and videos of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct" on Schaffner's computers and other electronic storage devices.

Not only that but Schaffner — who admitted to the FBI that he had been a collector of graphic child pornography for the past 11 years — sent numerous text messages and emails over the years in which he "repeatedly expressed a sexual interest in boys from "age zero" up and his desire to commit violent sexual abuse against infants, including making the children cry during the abuse and injuring or killing children in the course of sexual abuse. He discussed ways to ensure that the children did not report the abuse, including drugging or killing the children," the FBI said.

Perhaps authorities should have been tipped off in 2012 when Schaffner was fired from his position counseling abused and troubled children after sending what investigators described as a sexually inappropriate message to one of his counseling clients.

Schaffner's conviction comes less than a week after authorities in Canada released a series of sickening text messages between a young couple in which they discussed kidnapping and molesting young girls, and then carried out the crimes.

Lutts was arrested last August after investigators reported finding videos on his computer showing the nurse molesting the premature baby as the child cried uncontrollably. His case has not yet been resolved however. The FBI also says that the child sex abuse conspiracy involving Michael Lutts and Stephen Schaffner may include other adults as well.

[Images: Federal Bureau of Investigation]