Psych Crime Reporter

April 14, 2011

Louisiana psychiatrist Steve Taylor sentenced to two years prison for possession of child pornography

Filed under: child pornography,crime and fraud,mental health,psychiatrist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 10:08 am

A retired Covington (Louisiana) psychiatrist booked in 2008 with possessing more than 100 sexually explicit pictures of children on his computer has pleaded guilty to less severe charges.

Dr. Steve Taylor, 71, admitted to attempted possession of juvenile pornography during a hearing at the St. Tammany Parish courthouse in Covington on Tuesday, according to the District Attorney’s Office. In exchange for his plea, state Judge Peter Garcia sentenced him to two years in prison.

Ralph Whalen, Taylor’s defense attorney, said his client will begin serving his sentence April 22. He declined to answer questions about the reasoning behind the plea.

Meanwhile, DA spokesman Rick Wood explained that prosecutors struck the deal because they had concerns about evidence in the case and were unsure that a trial verdict would be favorable.

“It was the right thing to do,” Wood said.

Taylor, prior to his arrest, had been honored for his work with health care organizations and had been affiliated with a group dedicated to counseling victims of sexual abuse.

Sheriff’s Office deputies began investigating Taylor three years ago after receiving a tip that child pornography had been downloaded on his computer.

Investigators later seized Taylor’s home computer and uncovered images downloaded from websites showing non-local youths under the age of 17. On April 9, 2008, they searched Taylor’s home and office and jailed him on 107 counts of juvenile pornography possession, each of which was punishable with a $10,000 fine and two to 10 years in prison.

Authorities have declined to say where the tip originated.

A grand jury indicted him last September. The court scheduled his trial for this week, but he accepted a plea bargain rather than combat the charges before a jury.

Attempted possession of child pornography carries a maximum five-year sentence. Assistant District Attorney Joseph Oubre handled the prosecution.

Taylor was well-known as a psychiatrist on the north shore. He served on St. Tammany Parish Hospital’s Ethics Board, counseled residents after Hurricane Katrina and ran a support group for survivors of suicide. Late in the month during which he was arrested, he was supposed to receive an “Angels Among Us” award from the Hospice Foundation of the South. But organizers canceled the event.

He also collaborated with the Louisiana chapter of the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.

Taylor attended the first meeting of the organization in Metairie in 2003. He also accompanied members of the organization to Baton Rouge when they urged the Legislature to require clergy to report abuse suspicions.

At the time, he told The Times-Picayune the right of clergy to keep confessions private did not outweigh the importance of discovering potential abuse cases. “The privilege is not as important as helping the next child,” he said. “The cycle has to be broken.”

Source: Ramon Antonio Vargas, “Retired Covington psychiatrist pleads guilty to attempted possession of child pornography,” The Times-Picayune, April 13, 2011.



  1. Dr. Steve Taylor, a Louisiana psychiatrist who has worked with the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests (SNAP), has been sentenced to two years in prison for possession of child pornography.

    The news drew the following response from Catholic League president Bill Donohue:

    How many more morally debased psychiatrists are working with SNAP? Did SNAP leaders know about the leisure-time activities of Dr. Taylor? When did they know and what did they do about it? It’s time we learned the truth. What we know already is nauseating.

    In 2008, Dr. Taylor’s computer was seized by the authorities after they learned that he was downloading child pornography. He was jailed on 107 counts at the time, and in September of last year a grand jury indicted him. The court accepted a plea bargain from him this week.

    Dr. Taylor got off easy, at least according to his own standards. In 2003, speaking for SNAP clients, he argued that the confidentiality of the confessional seal should not be respected by the law. In a contemptuous statement against the Catholic Church, he voiced his objections to a unanimous decision by the Louisiana House Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice protecting the confidential communication of priests, ministers, rabbis and other clergy members. He said at the time that the seal has to be broken because “We have faces now.”

    Well, SNAP, we now have the faces of the children your colleague downloaded to feed his sick habits. If breaking the priest-penitent privilege is something you support, will you now support turning over the patient records of Dr. Taylor? Will you support a probe of this matter? What if there is more evidence against him? What if there are more victims? You’re always looking for new victims, aren’t you? Strike when the iron is hot—who cares about psychiatrist-patient privilege?

    Jeff Field
    Director of Communications
    The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
    450 Seventh Avenue
    New York, NY 10123
    212-371-3394 (fax)

    Comment by Joseph Bolea — April 14, 2011 @ 3:16 pm | Reply

  2. Psychiatrists should be one of the last people we expect to screw up “big time” if any one knows what I mean. I have no sympathy for psychiatrists when their actions warrant a job loss or an arrest. These psychiatrists should blame themselves for their punishment.

    Comment by Canuck Man — June 27, 2011 @ 7:45 pm | Reply

  3. SNAP is a buncha phonies and embrace a left-wing ideology.

    Comment by David — August 9, 2011 @ 7:03 pm | Reply

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