Special to the Enterprise
Stephen A. Keating, 53, of Jesup was sentenced yesterday by Chief United States District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood to 110 years in prison for his sexual exploitation of minors through the production and distribution of numerous images of child pornography.
Evidence presented at the guilty plea and sentencing hearings showed that between 2009 and 2011, Keating repeatedly sexually molested three children under the age of 12 to create pictures and videos of that conduct, then distributed images of the abuse. In addition to those three children, further investigation following Keating’s guilty plea revealed that Keating sexually molested 12 minor victims whose abuse was not captured on film.
United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver said the Defendant’s lengthy sentence represents the lifetime of pain and anguish he has brought upon his victims. ”
Depraved acts such as these will bring together every facet of law enforcement to garner the severest punishment allowed by law. Protecting this country’s children is the highest priority for the Department of Justice and this United States Attorney’s Office.”
“The hideous abuse Stephen Keating inflicted on more than a dozen children can never be erased, but hopefully his victims can find some comfort in the fact that he will never again be a free man,” said Brock D. Nicholson, special agent in charge of HSI Atlanta. “This investigation is a perfect example of the revolution in international law enforcement cooperation in cases involving child exploitation and victim identification. After Danish police first discovered the photos, and less than 24 hours after we identified Keating as the perpetrator, HSI and a host of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies were searching his residence, putting him in handcuffs and rescuing his victims.” Each count of child exploitation to which Keating pleaded guilty carried a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, followed by at least 5 years of supervised release. The count of distribution of child pornography carried a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, followed by at least 5 years of supervised release. Keating was also ordered to register as a sex offender.
The charges against Keating arose out of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a unified and comprehensive strategy to combat child exploitation. Initiated by the Department of Justice in May, 2006, Project Safe Childhood combines law enforcement efforts, community action, and public awareness to reduce the incidence of sexual exploitation of children. 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, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer G. Solari prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States. For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 341-7842.