BRUNSWICK, Ga. -- A Jesup man, Stephen A. Keating, 53, was sentenced Monday, July 29 to 110 years in prison for producing and distributing child pornography.
Keating pled guilty to the sexual exploitation of minors and to the production and distribution of child pornography, involving three minor victims, according to a Department of Justice news release.
Evidence 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.
Further investigation following Keating's guilty plea revealed that Keating sexually molested 12 minor victims whose abuse was not captured on film.
"This 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," said United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver.
Each count of child exploitation to which Keating pled guilty carried a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, followed by at least five years of supervised release.
The count of distribution of child pornography carried a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, followed by at least five 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 Homeland Security Investigations.
"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."
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a unified and comprehensive strategy to combat child exploitation with combined efforts from law enforcement, community action and public awareness to apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children as well as identify the rescue victims.