A Kennewick man accused of attempting to take pictures of a naked child on a boat in Birch Bay in the early 2000s pleaded not guilty Dec. 8 in Whatcom County Superior Court, according to court records.
Steven Douglas McConaghy, 65, is charged with first-degree child molestation and attempted sexual exploitation of a minor. His trial is tentatively scheduled for May 14.
An Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force with the Department of Homeland Security out of the Tri-Cities area began investigating McConaghy for child pornography, according to Undersheriff Jeff Parks, with the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office.
During the investigation, McConaghy revealed an incident more than 15 years ago involving a young child that supposedly took place on a boat moored in Birch Bay Village Marina, Parks said.
McConaghy told detectives earlier this year he would role-play as a boy in chat rooms, and gave a specific name that he used, according to the charges. When asked where the name came from, McConaghy told detectives he knew a boy with the same name when he was living in Whatcom County in the early 2000s, court records show.
During one incident, in 1999 or early 2000, the boy had been on McConaghy’s boat. McConaghy told investigators the boy’s clothes got wet and that he didn’t have a change of clothes. McConaghy offered to wash and dry the boy’s clothes, but this left the boy naked, the records state.
The boy fell asleep in McConaghy’s bed on the boat, and sometime later McConaghy tried to sneak into bed with the boy to take pictures and touch him, court records state.
The boy would have been 6 or 7 years old at the time.
McConaghy kept talking about how much he liked young boys throughout his interview with detectives, according to court records. He told detectives he loved boys’ bodies, they “were perfect at that age” and that they were “beautiful,” according to court papers filed in the case.
McConaghy admitted his attraction to young boys was sexual, and said he realized he had a sexual interest in children when he was around 17 years old, according to court records.
McConaghy had a significant child pornography collection, court records indicate.
The boy, who’s now 24, told detectives he remembered the boat incident, but “never thought that this issue would come up and probably thought this had been a dream,” the records state. The 24-year-old said he woke up to McConaghy in bed with him, but pretended to stay asleep and moved away from McConaghy, the records show.
Detectives forwarded information to the Whatcom County Sheriff and Prosecutor’s offices and a warrant for McConaghy’s arrest was issued. McConaghy was booked into the Whatcom County Jail on Dec. 1.
He was released on bond Dec. 12, according to jail records.