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An Iowa man who repeatedly raped his daughter from the time she was an infant, sometimes livestreaming the horrid abuse, was sentenced to spend the rest of his life behind bars this week. The girl's mother, who authorities say knew of the abuse and chose to ignore it, faces charges of her own.
Steven Douglas Crook, Jr., of Bloomfield, was sentenced to 120 years in prison after previously pleading guilty to four counts of sexual exploitation of a child, the Southern District of Iowa U.S. Attorney’s Office stated.
“The evidence showed that Crook sexually abused a little girl, sometimes violently, from the time she was an infant, until law enforcement rescued the girl from Crook’s home in March 2018, when she was six years old,” the office states. “Crook took photographs and videos of the sexual abuse, and, in some cases, livestreamed the abuse using the popular social media application Live.me. In doing so, he encouraged his followers on Live.me to watch him rape the little girl live on the Internet.”
One of the digital folders of the evidence confiscated by investigators was labeled "child porn and baby rape” according to a criminal complaint obtained by the Des Moines Register. Crook reportedly told investigators he raped the child “less than 100 times.”
Meanwhile, the girl’s mother Kendra Hoover is accused of finding at least some of that footage and choosing to ignore it.
She has been charged with seven counts of neglect or abandonment of a dependent person and seven counts of child endangerment. While Crook was arrested in March 2018, Hoover was arrested in February of this year.
Hoover allegedly allowed “the continued physical or sexual abuse … which resulted in bodily injury,” according to court filings obtained by the Ottumwa Courier in Ottumwa, Iowa.
She faces a trial in September.
It's not clear how Crook was caught.
During Crook’s sentencing, United States District Court Judge Stephanie Rose described Crook’s crimes against the child as “horrific” and manipulative, stating that Crook controlled the child for years while attempting to cover up the crimes.
She said it was important to keep him locked up because he was dangerous to other children in the community.
“Any time a child is abused in Iowa, if we have photographs or videos of the abuse, the defendant can be prosecuted in federal court, and face decades, if not life, behind bars.” United States Attorney Marc Krickbaum stated. “Steven Crook will spend the rest of his life in federal prison, where he belongs. We want to make sure that other defendants like him, who are a threat to our children, face the stiffest penalties federal law allows.”
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