Grand jury advances 8 felony charges against former Jujutsu Kaisen Manga translator Stefan Koza, trial set for June – Reuters

Content Warning: The article below contains references to child pornography.

A grand jury in Fairfax County, Va., advanced eight felony charges against former Jujutsu Kaisen manga translator Stefan Koza (34) on December 20. Each count relates to possession of child pornography and each count relates to a separate video.

The case first went through the Fairfax County General District Court and then moved to the Fairfax County Circuit Court for the grand jury indictment. A Fairfax County Circuit Court official confirmed with ANN that a three-day jury trial is scheduled to begin on June 7. According to the Fairfax County General District Court, attorney Dickson Young is representing Koza. ANN contacted Young, who declined to comment saying he does not comment on current cases.

December 2020 arrest details

Koza was arrested in December 2020 on suspicion of possession and distribution of child pornography. The Herndon, Virginia Police Department made the arrest as part of an investigation in conjunction with the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. He was initially charged with five counts of possession and five counts of distributing child pornography.

According to a police report included in court records, police arrived at Koza’s home with a warrant on December 7, 2020. Koza then allegedly dialed 911, stating that someone was knocking on the front door and he had been ordered to open the door to the police. The report says Koza then pulled out computer parts, exited through the basement of the house, and ran to the edge of a wooded lot where he dumped the components. The report says Koza then ran back to his residence where he was arrested.

The police then allegedly asked Koza why he had run into the woods to get rid of his belongings, and Koza replied that he had panicked when he realized that the police were at his house, and that he had tried to dump the components to allegedly hide traces of child pornography downloads from the BitTorrent network. The report says Koza said that at the time of his arrest he knew he was distributing and downloading child pornography files.

While Koza was originally held without bail, he was eventually “released on bail” (a term meaning that he was released without having to pay bail but had to sign a written promise to appear before the court) on December 15, 2020. As part of his release, he pledged to avoid contact with minors and pledged not to use the Internet. In January 2021, the court amended Koza’s bail to allow Koza access VizMediaand to contact two people in the company by e-mail. Viz confirmed to ANN that he did not continue to work with Koza after his arrest.

Previous Arrest in Japan in 2014

the Sankei Shimbun reported in 2014 that Koza was arrested on July 15 of the same year in the town of Kami, Miyagi, on suspicion of violating Japan’s petty crime law by breaking into and secretly taking recordings in the locker room of primary school girls. Koza reportedly denied the charges at the time.

The Kami school or school board filed a criminal complaint with Kami police on July 14, 2014. Koza reportedly told a staff meeting at the school that the camera belonged to him, but that he had lost it about a month before.

Koza is an American citizen who was 26 at the time of his arrest in Japan. He reportedly became an assistant language teacher (ALT) at the school in August 2009. Koza’s LinkedIn profile indicated that he was an ALT on the exchange program and taught in Japan at an unspecified elementary school in Japan d August 2009 to July 2014.

The police report in the current US case says Koza told police he was arrested in Japan after allegedly hiding a GoPro camera in an elementary school locker room. Koza reportedly said he was sentenced to three years probation by Japanese authorities, deported from Japan and sent back to the United States.

Past work for VizMedia

Koza, who also went through “Steady” and “Steady Studios” in connection with his manga work, was an English language translator for several Shounen jump manga properties including Jujutsu Kaisen, Ghost Grim Reaper Girl, We never learnand Tokyo Shinobi Squad. Koza’s LinkedIn profile indicated that he worked as a freelance manga translator for VizMedia since January 2018. VizMedia told ANN that Koza had worked as an independent contractor for the publisher. The company said it has several translators who are independent contractors and provide services for a variety of titles.

Sources: Fairfax County Circuit Court records, Fairfax County Circuit Court correspondence, Fairfax County General District Court, Tysons Reporter (David Taube)