We like to believe that monsters are imaginary creatures, lurking out of sight in the dark corners of our minds. But Dan W. Streetman, according to an assistant U.S. attorney, became a real life “bogeyman.”
For seven years before his 2015 arrest, Streetman, 47, drove a bus during the day delivering special-needs students for Spokane Public Schools. But in the privacy of his own home, he molested three young boys while recording his exploits in hundreds of photographs and videos.
“We know there are monsters,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Lister said. “Some are fake, some are real, but he is a monster.”
U.S. District Court Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson handed down what is expected to be a life term Thursday when she sentenced Streetman to 60 years in federal prison, a stark reversal for a man with no prior convictions.
Streetman previously pleaded guilty to three counts of producing child pornography. Two of the victims were family members and investigators found no evidence that Streetman abused any students from his bus route.
The Spokesman-Review does not identify victims of sex crimes. The victims identified as family members in this story do not share Streetman’s last name.
“The nature of your offenses is horrific. The impact on these children is just mind-boggling,” Peterson said. “The most important factor in my mind is to make sure no other children are subject to your acting out from your past.”
Streetman’s evolution into a “monster” started for him at age 4.
Wearing the yellow Spokane County inmate uniform, Streetman’s voice cracked several times as he recounted memories of a mother who didn’t care, a father who beat him with a cord and an unknown teenage girl who molested him at age 4.
Streetman then suffered sexual abuse from an uncle and later a friend of the family.
“That first instance is the very instance that still haunts me to this very day,” he said.
As he grew, Streetman then began molesting his own siblings over a period of eight years.
“It became normal for me. That shouldn’t have been, but I’d already been through hell,” he said. “I’ve been made to feel worthless, unwanted and unloved.”
Later, while serving in the military – court records did not indicate which branch – Streetman said he was given therapy to treat his trauma. But the treatment only lasted long enough to bring out his past demons, he said.
“I had buried that so deep because it was so painful. I didn’t want it to come out,” he said.
He said that he feels locked emotionally as a child, as if his psychological development ended after he was abused as a toddler.
“How would you feel if you saw yourself as a young child and your younger self is crying painfully because (he was) hurt. And nobody cared what was wrong,” he said. “I just want to reach out to that child and hold his hand.”
The abuse that led to the charges started in 2010 when Streetman convinced a family member to let him babysit an 8-year-old nephew. The Federal Bureau of Investigation later found video evidence of abuse that occurred in 2011.
But perhaps the most tragic story is that of another nephew, who lived in Missouri.
The boy’s mother, Sarah Malki, testified on Thursday that she was only 15 when she gave birth to the boy. His father didn’t want anything to do with him, she said, and mother and son became homeless.
As a result, the boy was given to foster parents, who molested the boy. After that abuse, the boy bounced around among family members until Streetman welcomed him into his home.
“My nephew came to me, he was in tears. I promised him, ‘I know you’ve been passed around. I know you can’t cope with your problems.’ I failed him miserably,” Streetman said.
Among more than 100 instances of abuse during a time when the boy was 9 and 10, the nephew brought home a 14-year-old friend who is autistic. That boy, who at the time had the mental capacity of a 9-year-old, also became the focus of abuse that was documented on home videos.
“I admit I made bad choices,” Streetman said. “The pictures were never meant to hurt anybody. The pictures were meant for memories.”
Federal defender Matt Campbell acknowledged his client’s bad actions, but he asked Peterson for a “reasonable” sentence.
“What happened is a tragedy. There is no way of getting around that,” Campbell said. “But the government is asking for what amounts to a life sentence.”
Lister countered that the victims in this case now face a lifetime of therapy.
“None of these children will ever be able to forget what Streetman did to them,” she said. “This is someone who never should have access to children again.”
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