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Forest Grove 'boogeyman' sentenced for sex abuse

Stephen Rockett gets 52.5 years in prison for abuse of three Hillsboro sisters


Steven Douglas Rockett, who was found guilty on March 11 of multiple counts of sexually abusing children, was sentenced to 630 months (52.5 years) in prison March 17 by Washington County Judge Andrew R. Erwin.

That’s less than the 775 months requested by prosecutors.

Clad in chains and an orange jumpsuit emblazoned with “Washington Co. Jail,” the 46-year-old Rockett received his sentence in front of the law enforcement officers who investigated the case, the victims, their families and neighbors. Rockett’s mother also attended the sentencing and one of his young sons waited patiently in the hall to hear the fate of his father.

Before the sentence, Prosecutor Dustin Staten said Rockett had been on law enforcement’s radar since the late 1990s, when he was investigated and charged in Sacramento County, Calif., for sexual misconduct with children, although the indictment was dismissed. He was investigated both in 2005 and 2012 in Washington County due to complaints from neighbors and concerns from his wife regarding contact with his own children, as well as children in the Philippines, Staten said.

“Mr. Rockett is a predator,” he said. “He preys on children.”

The mother of the three abused sisters also spoke, saying she’d felt Rockett was a friend, someone she could trust. She considered him family.

The effects of the abuse still linger, she said, as the family has no idea how far photos of her children have been spread across the world. “Don’t let this predator near any children again, please. I feel like I gave my babies to the predator, and I don’t want this to happen to anyone else,” she said, sobbing.

The mother of a boy who had his photograph taken by a pinhole camera asked Erwin to sentence Rockett to life in prison.

Rockett’s only words to the court were to ask that his previous guilty plea on using the pinhole camera to take sexually explicit pictures of children be withdrawn. His attorneys noted he plans to appeal the court’s pretrial rulings and that he has no criminal history, though he does have a history of alleged misconduct.

Erwin commented on Rockett’s lack of remorse and refused his request to let him withdraw his guilty plea. He reflected on the defense attorneys’ use of the term “boogeyman” to describe how the girls’ mother used to punish her daughters by threatening to return them to Rockett’s home.

“How ironic and how appropriate, because the jury found you are the boogeyman,” he said, adding that Rockett is “the reason normally good people are looked at with such suspicion, because they want to help kids become something in their lives. Yet the parents must suspect them, they must push them aside, they must doubt them because of the actions of someone like you.”

The judge spoke sympathetically to the victims and their parents. He noted they had been strong and called the world’s attention to their abuse.

“The jury believed them ... even though you allowed your attorneys to tear them apart,” he told Rockett. Their ability to sustain such questioning and abuse, he said, “tells me you did not destroy them ... they will find the strength they need.”

In addition to the prison time, Erwin required Rockett to register as a sex offender and to take sex offender classes when — or if — he leaves prison. “I am convinced,” he said, “after 52.5 years, Washington County will be safe from you, Mr. Rockett.”

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