A US government official who used his position to sexually abuse children in the Philippines has been sentenced to 40 years in federal prison.
Steven Hadley Hassan, aged 52, of Frederick, Maryland, was found guilty of sexually abusing minors to produce child pornography and transporting those images to the US.
Speaking after the sentencing on Tuesday (August 13) US Attorney Robert K Hur said: “Steven Hassan preyed on vulnerable young girls, including foreign nationals, while representing the United States.
“This sentence demonstrates that we will find and bring to justice those who victimise children.”
Homeland Security Investigations Baltimore Special Agent in Charge John Eisert said: “Steven Hadley Hassan exploited his position as a US government official abroad to victimise children over the course of several years in a certain perversion of public trust.
“Today’s sentencing ensures that Hassan will serve a just sentence and not again have access to additional victims.”
According to his guilty plea, from October 2010 and continuing until mid-2013, Hassan sexually abused Jane Doe 1 in government housing in the Philippines and South Africa, where Hassan was stationed in connection with his work as a Foreign Service Officer for the State Department.
During the time US official was stationed in the Philippines he also sexually abused two prepubescent sisters in Manila — Jane Doe 2 and Jane Doe 3 — and produced images of the abuse. Hassan met the two girls in 2010, when they were seven and 11 years old.
Hassan then transported them to a hotel and sexually abused them. He made Jane Doe 3 take photos while he abused her younger sister. He also took Jane Doe 3 and two other underage girls to a Manila hotel on at least three occasions and sexually abused them.
He most recently sexually abused Jane Doe 2 in 2015 when he briefly visited the Philippines.
Sometime after November 2015, Hassan transported his camera and the memory card within it — which contained photos of the abuse — back to the US.
From October 2014 until March 2018, he used an online file-sharing network to distribute these images.
in January 2018, an undercover investigator downloaded thousands of pictures from a “shared folder” that Hassan made available for download. Search warrants were were obtained for Hassan’s home. Officers seized a laptop computer, camera and various digital media.
A computer forensics analyst examined thousands of images of child abuse, including some showing Hassan sexually abusing Jane Doe 2 and Jane Doe 3.
The analyst also recovered online chats in which Hassan discussed his abuse of the girls. In other chats, he provided tips to others about how to meet and abuse minors in the Philippines.
As well as the prison sentence, Hassan must register as a sex offender for life.
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