A Pomona man who worked at a group home for severely disabled patients has been charged with sexually abusing children in his care and filming the abuse to produce child pornography, according to federal prosecutors.
Steve Jackson Rodriguez, 37, a certified nursing assistant, was indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday on six felony counts of childhood exploitation crimes.
Rodriguez was arrested by U.S. Department of Homeland Security agents on Aug 25. He is currently free on bond.
The indictment claims that Rodriguez created child pornography that involved three of his victims, including two who were severely disabled and being cared for at the group home where he worked in the Inland Empire. One of the alleged victims was just 8 years old, according to federal prosecutors.
Rodriguez and his attorney could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Authorities began investigating Rodriguez in July when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children contacted the Los Angeles Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force with information about the alleged abuse.
Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, said the location of the group home would not be revealed to protect the privacy of the victims.
Each of the four child pornography charges Rodriguez faces carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 15 years and he could be sentenced to as much as life behind bars if he is convicted of all charges in the indictment.
Homeland Security investigators suspect Rodriguez may have sexually abused patients in other group homes and psychiatric care facilities where he was employed as a nursing assistant.
Anyone with knowledge of other potential victims is asked to call the Homeland Security Investigations tip line at (866) 347-2423.