MORRISTOWN, NJ – Livingston Soccer youth soccer coach Steve Brooks kept secrets and after sending his laptop harddrive out to California for data recovery, the FBI became aware of his secrets. A data recovery technician performing a hard drive recovery operation on Brooks’ external hard drive noticed possible child pornography when he found folders with names such as “bathing suits”, “Nude”, “Skin” and “Clips”. Upon a quick investigation, the technician immediately stopped recovery efforts and notified the FBI.
What they found was even more disturbing.
Despite having dark-web type child pornography, FBI agents found a folder entitled “Personal” on Brooks’ hard drive. Upon inspection they found photos and videos of children Brooks interacted with, coercing them into sending nude photos and engaging in sexual acts. The videos which appear to have been recorded in October of 2019 were discovered in late January after Brooks sent his drive out for recovery.
According to the FBI complaint, “One of the sub-folders within the above-referenced “Personal” folder is titled with the first name of a male who, based on information in law enforcement’s possession, law enforcement believes was under the age of eighteen (“Minor Victim-1”) at the time the images and cell phone recording described below were made. Within the folder associated with Minor Victim-1 are multiple image files and multiple movie files. One of the movie files depicts what appears to be a cell phone recording from Social Media Account-1 that appears to have been recorded in or around October 2019. The video shows that Social Media Account-1 communicated with a username corresponding to Minor Victim-1’s social media account on the same social media platform. In the conversation, Social Media Account-1 sent Minor Victim-1 a video of a person masturbating (this video is also contained within the Fake Online Persona-1 folder found elsewhere on BROOKS’s External Hard Drive). Thereafter, Social Media Account-1 typed “Cum for me daddy.” Minor Victim-1 then sent a video to Social Media Account-1 that depicts Minor Victim-1 masturbating; Minor Victim-1’s penis and part of his face are visible in the video.”
In total, videos of four minor victims were found on Brooks’ hard drive.
Until today, Brooks was listed as a member of the New Jersey Youth Soccer Board of Directors. We reached out to the organization for comment, but received no reply. Brooks was elected to a position on the board in late 2020 and said that he has been a youth soccer referee for 21 years and played soccer until high school, but stopped because of “health issues”.
He has spent the past 10 years volunteering as a trustee at the Livington Soccer Club.
Steven Brooks, 34, of Morristown, New Jersey, is charged by complaint with one count of production of child pornography, one count of possession of child pornography and one count of mailing child pornography. He is scheduled to appear by videoconference today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
In January 2021, law enforcement officers were notified about possible child pornography on an external hard drive belonging to Brooks. Law enforcement officers conducted a legally authorized search of Brooks’ external hard drive. The investigation revealed that Brooks used a fake online persona on a social media account to solicit nude photos and videos from teenage victims. A video file on Brooks’s external hard drive showed the fake online persona that Brooks created using a social media platform to communicate with a minor and to solicit the minor to send a video that depicted the minor masturbating. There were dozens of other images of child sexual abuse.
The production of child pornography charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in prison. The possession of child pornography charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The mailing of child pornography charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison. Each charge also includes a maximum fine of $250,000.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents and members of the Child Exploitation Human Trafficking Task Force of the Newark field office of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Grouch Jr., as well as special agents from the FBI’s San Francisco field office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Craig D. Fair, with the investigation leading to the charges and arrest.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Levin of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Violent Crimes Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations against the defendants are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.