Federal officials say he produced it while stationed overseas.
Greenbelt, Md (KM) A stiff sentence was handed down on Tuesday to a Frederick man for sexually abusing at least five children while working overseas as a US Foreign Service Officer. Steven Hadley Hassan, 52, was given 40 years in a federal prison for sexually abusing minors to produce child pornography, and transporting those images to the United States. US District Judge Paul Grimm also ordered Hassan to be placed on lifetime supervised release after he’s let out of prison, and that he must register as a sex offender.
“As is often the case in those cases, you have horrifying facts about the abuse and exploitation of children. But what makes this case particularly notable is that he used his position as a Foreign Service Officer with the United States Department of State to create opportunities to abuse children,”: says Robert K. Hur, US Attorney for Maryland.
According to his guilty plea, Hassan sexually abused one girl, identified as Jane Done 1, from October, 2010 until the middle of 2013, in government housing in the Philippines and South Africa, where he was stationed in connection with his work for the State Department.
In another case, federal officials say Hassan met two girls, identified as Jane Doe 2 and Jane Doe 3, while stationed in the Philippines. Both were prepubescent sisters age 11 and seven who resided in Manila. He took them to a hotel where he sexually abused them. “Indeed, he had one sister take photos of some of the sexual abuse that he was inflicting on the young girl’s sister. And when he met these girls back in 2010, the girl were seven years old and 11 years old, quite young. It’s hard to hear about this conduct,” Hur says.
Sometime after November 2015, Hassan brought his camera and Secure Digital memory card which documented the sexual abuse of the minor girls to the United States. Hur says Hassan shared these images on the internet. “Mr. Hassan had used so-called file sharing networks for these programs over the internet where you can share these types of horrible images with other people who have a sick interest in them,” says Hur. “And the way federal investigators became aware of this is because they patrol, they investigate these file-sharing networks.”
Federal officials say on January 22nd, 2018, an undercover investigator downloaded thousands of depictions of child pornography and child erotica from a file-sharing program that Hassan made available for download. Search warrants were obtained for Hassan’s home in Frederick. Authorities seized a laptop computer, camera and various digital media.
A Computer Forensic Analyst at Homeland Security Investigations examined all of the digital evidence, and found images of Hassan sexually abusing Jane Doe 2 and Jane Doe 3, his face at times visible some of the images. The HSI Analyst also recovered on line chats with Hassan discussing the abuse of Jane Doe 1, Jane Doe 2 and Jane Doe 3. He also provides tips for others on how to abuse minors in the Philippines.
Hur says he gives a lot of credit to federal and local agencies for helping to close this case, leading to Hassan’s sentencing. “We had federal agent investigation by HSI–Homeland Security Investigations. Folks here in Maryland and in the Philippines. Bu the Department of State has an Office of Inspector General that was an important part of this case too. And, of course, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office was a huge help because once we obtained a warrant to search Mr. Hassan home, they were an important part or the team which went in and executed it,” he says.
He also says Mr. Hassan’s actions are not a reflection on the men and women of the US Foreign Service. “It often requires great sacrifice of the foreign service officers and their families, and, of course, they’re doing their level best to be good representatives of our country abroad,:” says Hur. “This particular case is really a horrible instance. Thank goodness, we came across him and we were able to bring him to justice.”
By Kevin McManus