Platte City man sentenced to prison for drugging teen and using her to create child pornography

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PLATTE CITY, Mo. — A Platte City man has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for creating child pornography involving a 16-year-old girl after he plied her with drugs and alcohol.

Bruce Rothrock, 30, received the sentence in Platte County Circuit Court on December 18 after earlier pleading guilty to statutory rape, statutory sodomy, two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, and distributing a controlled substance to a minor.

“This defendant groomed and manipulated his victim for months,” Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd said. “He then used drugs and alcohol to facilitate his crimes. He is a predator in the truest sense of the word, and he is going right where he belongs.”

Rothrock met the victim when the two worked together at a local business. She became part of a group of young people, all in their teens and early twenties, who would “hang out” at then-29-year-old Rothrock’s residence. While she was there, Rothrock would give her drugs and alcohol.

The victim testified that in the beginning, Rothrock was like a “big brother.” Soon, Rothrock began complementing the victim’s appearance and telling her that boys her own age were not good enough for her.

After a few months, the relationship turned sexual, and Rothrock took intimate pictures of the victim.

The victim’s mother discovered the inappropriate pictures on the victim’s cell phone and reported them to the police. The ensuing investigation revealed that Rothrock had been having sex with the child victim for some time.

In tearful testimony at sentencing, the victim’s mother described how her daughter had changed while she was secretly involved with Rothrock. Prior to knowing Rothrock, the victim had been a successful student involved in many clubs and activities. After she began associating with Rothrock, the victim’s grades took a nosedive, and she withdrew from her family and activities.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Chris Seufert argued for a 13-year sentence, citing the impact of the crimes on the victim as well as Rothrock’s discharge from the Marines for possession of cocaine.

Seufert also pointed out that Rothrock had an estranged wife and lived with another woman when he began to seduce the victim.

Criminal defense attorney Paul Morrison argued for probation and time served.

Judge James Van Amburg ultimately sentenced Rothrock to 12 years in prison for his crimes.

“Judge Van Amburg sent a message with this sentence,” Zahnd said. “In Platte County, we have no tolerance for those who sexually exploit our children”

This case investigated by the Platte City Police Department with assistance from the Heart of America Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory.