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Press Release

San Diego Man Sentenced to 25 years in Federal Prison for Child Pornography Offenses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of California

Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Griffith (619)546-8970 and Janet Cabral 546-8715

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – February 26, 2020

SAN DIEGO – Carsten Igor Rosenow was sentenced in federal court today to 25 years in prison for sexually exploiting children in the Philippines.

Rosenow was found guilty by a federal jury on August 30, 2019, on charges of production of child pornography and possession of child pornography. Rosenow, a former Chief Marketing Officer for tech company Illumina, Inc., who lived in San Diego, came to the attention of law enforcement when the FBI identified him as someone who regularly traveled abroad, including to the Philippines.

“Sexual crimes against children are heinous and tragic wherever they occur, and we will not let borders keep us from protecting these vulnerable victims whenever possible,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “The law allows us to pursue cases against U.S. citizens who victimize children around the world, and that’s what we’ve done here. This defendant is off the streets for 25 years, and that makes this a very good outcome.”

“The FBI investigates U.S. citizens who travel overseas to engage in illegal sexual conduct with children under the age of 18 as well as the production of child pornography,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Scott Brunner.  “The seriousness of Rosenow’s crimes cannot be overstated. Preying upon children, no matter where they live, and exploiting them is extremely damaging to children and to our global society. Protecting the vulnerable is a top priority for the FBI and we stand committed to investigating and prosecuting anyone who seeks to harm children.”

The FBI also received information that Rosenow was communicating through Facebook with what appeared to be minor females living in the Philippines, using an account under the name “Carlos Senta,” and making arrangements to meet to engage in sexual activities while he was traveling there.

The FBI was alerted that Rosenow was scheduled to return to the United States from the Philippines in June of 2017, and he was arrested by FBI agents when he arrived at the airport in San Diego on June 21, 2017. Rosenow’s baggage and residence were searched pursuant to search warrants. Three devices seized from Rosenow’s luggage contained videos, produced by Rosenow while in the Philippines, showing Rosenow engaging in sexual acts with minor females, and recording those sex acts. Additional devices seized from his residence also contained visual depictions of Rosenow engaged in sexual acts with minors while in the Philippines.

Facebook records introduced into evidence at trial established that prior to meeting with one of the girls, Rosenow was told she was 12 years old. While engaged in the sexual activity with the girl, she told Rosenow she was 15. Rosenow also admitted as part of the evidence at trial that he knew that another video, which showed him engaged in sexual acts with three minor females, one of whom was a prepubescent female, was produced by him while in the Philippines. Rosenow was charged by the United States with both using a minor to engage in sexual conduct outside the United States, for the purpose of producing visual depictions of that conduct, and intending to transport it back to the United States, and with possession of child pornography.

Rosenow testified at trial and admitted that while he was abroad in the Philippines for work, he had sex with girls who he knew were minors, which is defined under federal law as anyone under the age of 18.  The parties also agreed to facts which were presented to the jury, showing that the defendant produced videos of himself engaging in sexual acts, including vaginal intercourse, with minor females and one prepubescent girl under the age of 12. The jury found defendant guilty of both charges.

At sentencing, the prosecutor stressed that Rosenow engaged in sex acts with prepubescent and minor-aged children in exchange for money, cell phones, and chocolates, treating those children as a commodity. The Court agreed that the nature and circumstances of the offense were aggravated by anyone’s definition, finding the videos of defendant engaging in sex acts with the children “deeply disturbing on many levels.” The Court rejected the notion that the defendant merely engaged in commercial sexual transactions, noting the young age of the girls and that the girls “did not seem to be willingly engaging in the activity.” The Court noted the “defendant showed no sense of compassion for these kids or remorse or recognition regarding what he did” and that the defendant’s conduct “was despicable for lack of a better term.”

Following his release from federal prison, the Court sentenced the defendant to a lifetime of supervised release. The Court also ordered the defendant to pay a total fine of $100,000, and restitution to three victims of the offense.

This case is the result of the ongoing efforts of the Violent Crime and Human Trafficking (VCHT) Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  Formed in 2019, by U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer, the VCHT Section is tasked with leading collaborations between federal and local law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of cases involving violent crimes, firearms and gang cases; sex trafficking and child exploitation; civil rights; and labor trafficking. The VCHT Section oversees the Southern District of California Coordinators for Project Safe Childhood, Project Safe Neighborhood, and Human Trafficking.

U.S. Attorney Brewer lauded the efforts of FBI agents and prosecutors Mandy Griffith and Janet Cabral, who work hard to seek justice for minor victims who are sexually exploited.

DEFENDANT                                               Criminal Case No. 17cr3430-WQH

Carsten Igor Rosenow              Age: 55                     San Diego, CA


  • Count 1 – Title 18, United States Code, Section 2251(c), Attempted Sexual Exploitation of a Child – Production of Child Pornography
  • Count 2 – Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252(a)(4)(B), Possession of Images of Minors Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct

Maximum penalties:

  • Count 1 - 30 years in prison, with a mandatory minimum 15 years in prison
  • Count 2 – 20 years in prison
  • As to all Counts, $250,000 fine


Federal Bureau of Investigation

Updated April 18, 2023

Project Safe Childhood
Press Release Number: CAS20-0226-Rosenow