TAMPA — The defendant was a well-to-do Pasco County man who used fake Facebook profiles to instruct people in the Philippines to make videos of young girls being sexually abused.
On Wednesday, a federal judge sentenced Christopher John Streeter to life in prison for his participation in the international sex trafficking scheme, which prosecutors said stretched back years.
Streeter, 63, of Land O’ Lakes, pleaded guilty in October to a single charge of child sex trafficking. It related to his involvement in arranging for the creation of a video showing a young girl being sexually abused. Federal prosecutors believe there were other victims.
Streeter’s plea agreement details a scheme that involved his use of two Facebook profiles under the names “Jack Reacher” and “John Chris.” He used the profiles to communicate with “recruiters” or “facilitators” in the Philippines, instructing them to get children to engage in sex acts and to record videos of the abuse.
Some of the children depicted in the resulting videos were as young as 12 or 13 years old, according to the plea agreement. Streeter would send payments overseas to cover production costs, including hotel rooms, transportation, a commission for the recruiter, and payment to the child.
Prosecutors described the children who were harmed as “particularly vulnerable due to poverty and illness.” The victims were sometimes immediate family members or classmates of the recruiters.
Streeter would pay a premium for videos and images that showed young girls losing their virginity or being placed at risk of pregnancy, according to the plea agreement. Negotiations sometimes involved a parent “selling” the child’s virginity.
He paid additional fees to cover emergency contraception pills and abortions, the agreement states.
In a sentencing memo, Streeter’s attorney, Mark Rankin, described him as a decent person who simply made a terrible mistake. He noted that Streeter was not accused of sharing any of the videos or images he received. He also gave assistance to federal authorities to identify the victims and others connected to his scheme.
Streeter, who was born in New Zealand, had a childhood described as “tumultuous,” according to the memo. But he overcame childhood difficulties, earning an education in marine engineering. He came to the United States in 1980. He lived in California and Louisiana before moving to the Tampa area in 2009.
At the time of his arrest last year, he owned a business, LYCS Inc., which repaired and refurbished private yachts.
In the government’s sentencing memo, Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Murray noted that Streeter has a daughter who was the same age as some of the victims.
“Streeter did not suffer from a solitary lapse in judgment,” Murray wrote. “His conduct was calculated and premeditated. For years and on multiple occasions, Streeter deliberately and consistently elected to sponsor, patronize, and direct the sex trafficking of impoverished children from a poor nation.”
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Senior U.S. District Judge Virginia Hernandez Covington imposed the life sentence the government sought.
One of the recruiters with whom Streeter communicated was recently arrested in the Philippines. Homeland Security Investigations assisted the Philippine National Police in the investigation of Analyn Tababini, who prosecutors say facilitated internet sex shows of minors for international clientele. The investigation resulted in the rescue of six victims.