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Forest Grove man guilty in first 'foreign sex tourism' trial

Federal jury convicts Steven Douglas Rockett on all counts May 25

STEVEN DOUGLAS ROCKETTA Forest Grove man, Steven Douglas Rockett, has been convicted on all counts in the first foreign sex tourism trial in Oregon.

His seven-day trial in U.S. District Court in Portland — where he stood accused by the federal government of five counts of producing child pornography, three counts of possession of child pornography, one count of international travel with the intent to engage in sex with a minor and one count of international travel and engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor — ended Wednesday, May 25, with guilty verdicts.

Sentencing for Rockett has been set for Aug. 30.

Rockett, 47, had previously been convicted of multiple counts of child sex abuse in Washington County Circuit Court in March 2015 and was serving a 52-year sentence in the custody of the Oregon Department of Corrections.

Billy J. Williams, United States Attorney for the District of Oregon, announced May 25 that the jury had convicted Rockett on all charges.

Evidence presented during the trial “established that Rockett traveled to the Philippines, where he sexually abused Filipino children and produced or attempted to produce child pornography depicting them,” read a memo from Gerri Badden, a public information officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland.

“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, Badden wrote, “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 collaboration between 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.

They found a pinhole camera hidden in a wall in the guest bathroom “which Rockett used to record images of naked children,” wrote Badden.

Another spy camera, hidden inside a clock radio, contained video recordings of naked Filipino children in the bathroom and shower of Rockett’s hotel room. Rockett appeared in some of the videos.

Jurors heard testimony from seven victims who were sexually abused or exploited by Rockett in Oregon and overseas. The jury deliberated for several hours before reaching a verdict.

“This verdict is a testament to the dedication and hard work of federal, state and local authorities who diligently followed the evidence in this case,” said Williams. “It is a shining example of interagency cooperation in the hard fight to keep children safe here in Oregon and outside the United States. It is vindication for the courageous child victims who spoke out against their abuser.”

The investigation was hindered by Rockett’s use of computer encryption and disc-wiping software, Williams said. “As a result, investigators cannot be certain they have identified all of Rockett’s child victims.”

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 2006 to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse.