Grand Island teen gets more prison time

Already sentenced in federal court, now he’s been sentenced in Hall County too
Max Rookstool has been sentenced to a total of 30 years in prison for sex crimes, but may...
Max Rookstool has been sentenced to a total of 30 years in prison for sex crimes, but may serve only seven.(Hall County Jail)
Published: Mar. 29, 2021 at 3:37 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - A Grand Island teenager Monday got more prison time in connection with a sex crime investigation involving high school students.

A Hall County District Court judge sentenced Max Rookstool, 18, to 14-16 years in state prison for a conviction on first degree sexual assault.

Rookstool had been charged with a total of 17 crimes in Hall County, but pled no contest to the sexual assault charge as part of a plea agreement.

Rookstool was sentenced to 10 years and one month in federal prison Mar. 26 after he was convicted on a federal charge of receiving and distributing child pornography. He will serve both the state and federal prison sentences at the same time. He will be eligible for parole in seven years.

Rookstool, who at the time was a student at Grand Island Northwest, was arrested in January, 2020, when police discovered 194 images of minors that had been gathered since September of 2017. Police discovered that at least 16 victims were involved, some of whom were asked to perform sexual acts under threat that the images would be made public.

Rookstool had been out on bond, but in September a judge sent him to Hall County jail for violating the conditions of that bond, which required that Rookstool not use a smart phone, tablet, computer or other electronic devices except for school. He was also ordered to use no social media and was confined to his home except for school, healthcare or counseling.

Court records show that in August 2020, Rookstool allegedly sent social media messages to juvenile males asking that they have sex with a person identified as “Max” or that they they physically assault “Max.” The messages threatened to make nude photos of the males public if they didn’t comply with the requests. Investigators traced those messages to an IP address assigned to Rookstool’s father’s residence.

Court records also indicated that officers served a search warrant on Rookstool’s home in September and when they arrived at the house they found Rookstool leaving the residence with his mother. They also found a phone with internet access, an MP3 player, an XBOX, a smart TV and a laptop computer.

In a related case, former Grand Island Northwest teacher Brian Mohr was sentenced Mar. 26 to six years and four months in federal prison for possession of child pornography. A federal judge ordered Mohr to report to prison on May 26 and to pay $8,500 in fines.

Mohr, 38, was arrested Jan 14, 2020, after an investigation the Grand Island Police Department conducted with assistance from the Department of Homeland Security. Grand Island Police said he was in possession of 34 images of child pornography. The identities and ages of these victims were confirmed to be under the age of 19 years old.

GIPD said Mohr admitted to investigators that he knew he was in possession child pornography.

Mohr’s arrest was connected to a related investigation into Rookstool, who was 17 at the time..

In the federal system, a criminal defendant will serve roughly 80% of an imposed prison sentence as compared to the 50% of an imposed prison sentence a criminal defendant would serve at the state level.

Max Rookstool, shown in the upper right hand corner of this picture during a video hearing in...
Max Rookstool, shown in the upper right hand corner of this picture during a video hearing in Hall County Court. The Grand Island Northwest student is charged in adult court with felony human trafficking and child pornography. (SOURCE: KSNB)(KSNB)

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