The popular punk-pop band New Found Glory parted ways last year with their guitarist and primary songwriter Steven Klein due to what was called "personal differences". Reasons for the split have come to light recently; Klein was charged with child sex crimes in the state of California.
The charges include counts of: lewd conduct with a minor under 14, lewd conduct with a minor 14 or 15, intent to commit a lewd act with a minor and of possession of child pornography. If convicted for all counts, Klein could face up to 27 years in prison. He is currently not being held, and is scheduled to appear in court March 20th and April 10th.
New Found Glory posted this statement earlier today on their official Facebook page:
"Upon our return from Warped Tour Australia, Steve made us aware of possible allegations that might be made against him. At that point, not knowing all the details, we made the decision to part ways in order for him to deal with these personal issues. Us 4 members of New Found Glory have given our entire lives to this band and will continue to do so. We’ve been able to play all over the world for the most amazing fans. We can't wait to get in the studio to make a new album and we can't wait to get back on the road! Just coming off the Parahoy cruise and a surprise show in our hometown we are more inspired than ever! Thank you so much to everyone around the globe for always sticking by us. The future is bright."
Klein's attorney Debra White, also issued a statement about the case to Alternative Press:
"It is a difficult challenge to defend oneself in the media when there is a pending criminal case. This is because people are quick to assume that if a person is charged with a crime, they are also guilty as charged. And it is especially difficult because criminal defense attorneys insist that their clients not talk about the case to ensure that their constitutional rights are protected. Furthermore, attorneys are limited by law as to what can and cannot be said about a case to the public.
In the matter of Steve Klein, since his case has now been brought into issue by the media, I am permitted to make a few statements. To that effect, I offer you the following indisputable facts about the accusations:
1. Steve Klein is not accused of having any lewd actual physical contact with any minor.
2. ALL charges against Steve are derived solely from online consensual video chats between Steve and some female strangers he met on an adult website. Steve believed the females were over the age of 18.
3. The females alleged to be “minors” in this case are not known females. This means that no one, not the prosecution, not the police, and not the defense, actually know who the females are and no one knows their true age.
4. The possession of child pornography charge is based solely on Steve allegedly “possessing” the videos of chats with the female strangers from the adult website.
This is about all I am permitted to disclose at this time. But I can tell you, from my many years of experience in this specialty area of criminal defense, I wholeheartedly believe that Steve Klein is innocent of all of these charges.
Steve is devastated by these accusations. He has lost his band, his livelihood, and his ex-wife continues to push for full custody of his children using this case as her pawn while he literally fights for his life. Despite this heavy hand, Steve remains strong and hopeful that he will be vindicated."
He is not a registered sex offender as of right now.
This is not the first time in the past year that a popular musician has been in trouble for sex crimes; former Lostprophets vocalist Ian Watkins was convicted and sentenced to 35 years imprisonment in December 2013 on multiple similar offenses and attempted rape of a baby.