Drew Central High School principal Steven Noble was arrested at his home Thursday morning following allegations of sexual indecency with a child. The allegations stem from an Internet sting operation in which an undercover Phoenix Arizona police officer posed as a 14-year-old old girl in an Internet chat room. Noble, 57, likely will face similar charges in Arizona.
According to the affidavit for Noble’s arrest, a person using an internet chat room screen name “knob 71859” sent the private message, “Do you like to watch a guy on cam?” to an undercover Phoenix police detective posing as a 14-year-old girl on November 30, 2011. After accepting the invitation, the police officer said he saw web cam images of a white male, nude from the waist down, engaging in self sexual gratification.
During the chat conversation, “knob 71859” used sexually graphic language to solicit the undercover police officer’s persona to engage in a sexual activity while sexually gratifying himself, according to details provided in the affidavit.
After signing off the chat session, the officer reportedly found an online post dated October 3, 2011, from someone identifying himself as “knob 71859” and that he was a high school principal. Through another search, the officer said he was able to associate the user name “knob 71859” with the name Steven Mark Noble, born on May 18, 1957. Those records indicated that Steven Noble was currently living in Monticello, Arkansas but had lived in Arizona in the past, according to the affidavit, which shows Noble’s date of birth as May 18, 1954.
The officer said he then performed an Internet search and found an August 2010 online article about a Steven Noble being hired as the new principal at Drew Central High School. The article included a photograph of Noble.
On December 1, the Arkansas Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force provided the officer with driver’s license photographs of Steven Mark Noble. The photographs appeared to be same person in the online article about the Drew Central High School principal, according to the affidavit.
On the same day, the officer said he sent an instant message to “knob 71859” and they engaged in another sexually graphic conversation during which “knob 71859” decided to trade images with the officer’s undercover persona. The officer said he received an image of a white male wearing a red, plaid shirt and tie. The person in the image appeared to be the same person in the driver’s licence photographs of Steven Mark Noble, according to the affidavit.
The officer then subpoenaed an Internet Service Provider requesting subscriber information for the account using “knob 71859’s” IP address. The IP address was assigned to an account belonging to Steven Noble, of Monticello. That account had been assigned that address from November 27, 2011 through December 4, 2011.
Arizona authorities subsequently contacted Monticello authorities and a search was conducted of Noble’s home where a personal computer was seized. Another warrant was issued to search Noble’s home for an Apple i-Phone.
At his first appearance hearing Thursday, Circuit Judge Bynum Gibson set Noble’s bond at $10,000 and issued a no contact order. He was ordered not to have contact with any children, pending a charging decision by 10th Judicial District Prosecutor Thomas Deen and Phoenix authorities which could take some time because of charging procedures (grand jury) in Arizona.
If the Phoenix authorities file charges Deen said he will defer to them.
Because Noble said he could only afford $5,000 for an attorney, Gibson appointed 10th Judicial District Chief Public Defender Steven Porch to represent him.