Child Sexual Predator Sentenced to 60 Years in Federal Prison
PORTLAND, Ore. – On Thursday, September 8, 2016, U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon sentenced Steven Douglas Rockett to 60 years in federal prison followed by a life term of supervised release. Rockett, 47, was convicted by a federal jury in Portland, Oregon for producing child pornography outside the United States, engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places, producing and attempting to produce child pornography (five counts), and possession of child pornography after a seven-day trial in May of this year.
Prosecutors presented victim impact statements from Filipino child victims as well as statements from Rockett’s victims in Oregon. The prosecutors urged the Court to impose a sentence of no less than 60 years – 45 consecutive to Rockett’s 52.5-year sentence in Oregon State court for crimes committed against a number of different victims. Rockett’s attorneys requested the mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years, imposed to run concurrently with Rockett’s state sentence, which is presently on appeal. “One of civil society’s most important duties and obligations is to protect the most vulnerable among us. Children are the most vulnerable,” observed Judge Simon before agreeing with the prosecution’s recommendation and sentencing Rockett to 60 years – 45 to be served consecutive to the Rockett’s state sentence.
Judge Simon noted that these were “extremely serious offenses.” He expressed doubt that Rockett could refrain from committing further crimes if released from prison. Judge Simon imposed a sentence designed to ensure that Rockett would not harm any other children stating, “I don’t think you are capable of restraining yourself.”
The evidence presented at trial established that Rockett traveled to the Philippines, where he sexually abused Filipino children, and produced or attempted to produce child pornography depicting them. The evidence also established that Rockett solicited children (either directly or through a parent) both in the Philippines and in Oregon, to take and send him sexually explicit images of themselves. In addition, Rockett surreptitiously recorded children undressing and showering at his residence in Forest Grove, at a former residence in Aloha, and in hotel rooms in the Philippines.
The investigation was a collaborative effort on the part of the Forest Grove Police Department, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, and the FBI. Investigators executed search warrants at Rockett’s residence, and seized computer equipment and digital data storage devices. Investigators found a pin-hole camera hidden in a wall in a guest bathroom, which Rockett used to record images of naked children. Another spy camera, hidden inside a clock radio, contained surreptitious video recordings of naked Filipino children in the bathroom and shower of Rockett’s hotel room. Rockett appeared in some of the videos.
FBI Special Agents traveled to Cebu City, Philippines, where they identified and interviewed some of the victims depicted in the videos, and some of the children who Rockett solicited to send him sexually explicit images. The jury heard testimony from seven victims who were sexually abused or exploited by Rockett in Oregon and overseas. The jury deliberated several hours before reaching their verdict.
“This sentence is a just and deserving punishment for a dangerous sexual predator, and reflects the life-long impact his conduct will have on his victims,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “I am grateful for the dedication and collaboration between the federal government and our state and local partners who diligently followed the evidence in this case, and for their continued efforts to keep children safe here in Oregon and outside the United States.” Williams added, “We will not tolerate American citizens traveling abroad to sexually abuse children. Child sexual predators like Steven Rockett must understand that the sexual exploitation of children carries severe consequences, as Judge Simon’s sentence clearly demonstrates.”
“Effectively, Steven Rockett will, rightfully, live the rest of his life behind bars. I would ask the community to remember that the innocent children who suffered his abuse will also pay a heavy price for many years to come,” said Greg Bretzing, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. “No child deserves to live a life of violence and violation, and it is our responsibility to bring justice to them and their families.”
This case was investigated by the Forest Grove Police Department, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, the Northwest Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory, and the Washington County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul T. Maloney and Gary Y. Sussman prosecuted the case in federal court.
This case stemmed from a coordinated investigation by members of the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force and was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Launched in May 2006 by the U.S. Department of Justice and led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
Anyone who has information about the physical or online exploitation of children are encouraged to call the FBI at (503) 224-4181 or submit a tip online at www.fbi.gov/tips.