A man from Pomona, who worked in a dormitory for severely disabled patients, was charged with the sexual abuse of children in his care and with filming the abuse to produce child pornography, according to the federal prosecutor’s office.
Steve Jackson Rodriguez, 37, a certified nursing assistant, was charged Wednesday by a federal grand jury on six child exploitation crimes.
Rodriguez was arrested by US Department of Homeland Security agents on August 25. He is currently on bail.
The indictment states that Rodriguez created child pornography that involved three of his victims, including two severely disabled people who were cared for in the residential group where he worked in the Inland Empire. According to the federal prosecutor’s office, one of the alleged victims was only 8 years old.
Rodriguez and his lawyer were unavailable Wednesday for comment.
Authorities began investigating Rodriguez in July when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reached out to the Los Angeles Cybercrime Task Force on Children with information about the alleged abuse.
Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, said the group’s location would not be disclosed in order to protect victims’ privacy.
Each of the four child pornography charges Rodriguez faces carry a minimum mandatory 15 year sentence and could face up to life imprisonment if found guilty on all charges.
Homeland Security investigators suspect that Rodriguez may have sexually abused patients in other residential groups and psychiatric care facilities where he was employed as a nursing assistant.
Anyone with knowledge of other potential victims is encouraged to call the Homeland Security Investigations tip line at (866) 347-2423.