Steven Powell fights $1.8M award to voyeurism victims

Staff writerNovember 5, 2013 

Two neighbor girls who Steven Powell secretly photographed while they bathed and used the toilet won a $1.8 million civil judgment against him this year, and on Tuesday their lawyers applied for a writ of garnishment against Powell’s assets.

Powell, 63, has asked Pierce County Superior Court Judge Vicki Hogan to vacate the judgment. A hearing on Powell’s motion has been scheduled for this month.

A jury in May 2012 convicted Powell of 14 counts of voyeurism, and he was sentenced to 30 months in prison.

Prosecutors said Powell used a camera set up in his bedroom to video-record and photograph the girls, then 10 and 8, while they used a bathroom in their adjacent home. Prosecutors said he used the images, which he took without the girls’ knowledge, for sexual gratification.

He was scheduled to be released this week after deducting credit for good behavior in prison and time served in jail while awaiting trial, but that date was postponed when his release plan fell through.

Powell will be released by March at the latest, but could be freed earlier if he gets an acceptable release plan together. At one time Powell was to be released this past Monday, but that plan was dropped when the owner of the Tacoma property where he was to live withdrew the offer.

The girls and their mother sued Powell in 2012, contending they suffered “extreme emotional distress” as a result of his voyeurism. They asked for damages to compensate them for counseling, medical care and pain and suffering.

“Both children experienced extreme trauma of unspeakable magnitude,” their lawyers wrote in court records.

They sought a default judgment against Powell in July, and Hogan granted it despite Powell’s objections.

Powell, father of Joshua Powell and father-in-law of missing Utah mother Susan Cox Powell, is representing himself in the civil case.

He wrote a letter to the court in July accusing plaintiff’s attorney Anne Bremner of grandstanding.

“Plaintiff’s attorney Bremner told the media that this case is not about money, but an effort to get me to talk about the Susan Powell disappearance,” Powell wrote. “Ms. Bremner is playing ‘gotcha,’ and this motion is further evidence of that.”

Bremner has said she believes Powell has information about his missing daughter-in-law, who is presumed to have been murdered by her husband. Joshua Powell later killed the couple’s two young sons and himself in Pierce County, by striking the boys with a hatchet then setting his house on fire with them and him in it.

At a hearing in August, Hogan determined the girls’ damages to be $1.8 million and signed an order to that effect.

Powell has yet to make a payment toward settling the judgment, court records show.

Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644

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