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Iowa man sentenced to 120 years in prison for sexual exploitation of a child

DES MOINES – On June 3, 2019, Steven Douglas Crook, Jr., of Bloomfield, Iowa, was sentenced by United States District Court Judge Stephanie M. Rose to the maximum penalty of 120 years in prison. Crook previously pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual exploitation of a child.

The evidence showed that Crook sexually abused a little girl, sometimes violently, from the time she was an infant, until law enforcement rescued the girl from Crook’s home in March 2018, when she was six years old. Crook took photographs and videos of the sexual abuse, and, in some cases, livestreamed the abuse using the popular social media application In doing so, he encouraged his followers on to watch him rape the little girl live on the Internet.

While announcing what is effectively a life sentence, Judge Rose described Crook’s crimes as “horrific.” The judge noted that Crook controlled the victim and hid his crimes for years, and called Crook’s actions “insidious,” “thoughtful,” and “manipulat[ive].” Judge Rose explained that the effective life sentence was necessary because Crook remains “so very dangerous” to children in the community.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa prioritizes cases involving the sexual exploitation of children. As United States Attorney Marc Krickbaum explained, “Any time a child is abused in Iowa, if we have photographs or videos of the abuse, the defendant can be prosecuted in federal court, and face decades, if not life, behind bars.” Krickbaum continued, “Steven Crook will spend the rest of his life in federal prison, where he belongs. We want to make sure that other defendants like him, who are a threat to our children, face the stiffest penalties federal law allows.”

U.S. Attorney Krickbaum added a warning about those who remain silent in the face of child abuse. “In this case, sexual abuse went undetected for years because family members failed to report it to authorities.” Krickbaum said that, “anyone who believes a child may be a victim of abuse, sexual or otherwise, should report the suspected abuse to law enforcement immediately.”

This case was investigated by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Federal Bureau of Investigation Child Exploitation Task Force, Bloomfield Police Department, Davis County Sheriff’s Office, and the Davis County Attorney’s Office, with critical assistance from the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children.

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