Houma Man Sentenced for Enticing Teen Boys to Create Sexually Explicit Images and Videos

Published 3:28 pm Wednesday, November 9, 2022

NEW ORLEANS, LA – U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced today that STEVE C. MERGEY (“MERGEY”), age 52, of Houma, Louisiana, was sentenced on November 8, 2022 for Production of Child Pornography, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 2251(a) and (e).

According to documents filed in federal court, the case against MERGEY developed as a result of a complaint to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“HSI”) Tip Line. On June 4, 2020, HSI Agents executed a federal search warrant at MERGEY’S residence located in Houma, LA. HSI’s investigation revealed that MERGEY groomed and coerced young male victims, as young as ten years old, who were living in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan to create and send sexually explicit images of themselves to MERGEY.

U.S. District Judge Wendy B. Vitter sentenced MERGEY to 210 months imprisonment, a life-term of supervised release and registration as a sex offender.

“The sentence is a gratifying outcome for the HSI special agents and law enforcement partners who are committed to protecting our nations’ innocense,” said Special Agent in Charge Dave Denton, HSI New Orleans. “We hope this serves as part of the healing process for the victims, and a reminder to those who harm children – HSI will not stop pursuing and bringing you to justice.”

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office would also like to acknowledge the assistance of the U. S. Department of Homeland Security, Houma RAC and Pittsburg Office; Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office; Houma Police Department; Louisiana State Police, Criminal Investigative Division; and Oswego County Sheriff’s Office, NY with this matter. The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian M. Klebba, Chief of the Financial Crimes Unit.