Wicked Lester Guitarist Stephen Coronel Arrested on Child Pornography Charges
Guitarist Stephen Coronel — who played alongside Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons in their pre-Kiss band Wicked Lester — has been arrested for allegedly uploading child pornography from his home computer.
According to the Charlotte Observer, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office of South Carolina arrested Coronel Friday, September 26 on five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. An investigation was launched when the U.S. Department of Justice’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force determined child pornography had been uploaded from a residence in Bluffton, S.C.
The task force and the Sheriff’s office reportedly tracked the materials to Coronel’s apartment, where electronic devices and other evidence was seized. No further details of the case or investigation have been revealed, pending forensic analysis of the evidence.
Coronel was a member of Wicked Lester alongside Simmons and Stanley in the early ’70s. The group’s lone album was rejected by Epic Records and has never been officially released — although three of its songs were included in Kiss’ self-titled 2001 box set.
In 2013 Coronel told Kiss Army Sweden, “Epic Records didn’t like me for some reason. They said Wicked Lester would get a deal if they replaced me. Gene had to come up to my apartment to break the news to me.” Coronel went on to receive co-songwriting credits for the early Kiss classics ‘Goin’ Blind’ and ‘She.’