Articles Posted in Child Sexually Abusive Actvity or Materials

In May we wrote about Gary Hampton, a Grand Rapids man arrested for allegedly sexually exploiting a 15-year-old boy. On Thursday December 19, Hampton, who has cancer, was sentenced to 23 years in prison after he plead no contest to photographing the victim while engaging in sex acts, according to a news article at Mlive.com. sad-boy-648278-m.jpg

Authorities claim Hampton used drugs and cash to entice the victim into engaging in sex acts. Prior to sentencing, Hampton’s attorney wrote that his client’s cancer may have spread according to doctors, and that he may not live long enough to fulfill his sentence.

Hampton pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sexual conduct and no contest to federal charges of possession of images of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct and sexual exploitation of a child following his arrest in April. According to court records, the state allegations against Hampton date back to 2004; federal charges are in connection with a March 7, 2006 incident.

Sharon Turek, Hampton’s attorney, said that her client had taken responsibility for the crimes, and that he chose to save the cost of going to trial for all involved by pleading to the charges. Turek also claimed that Hampton recently learned that his cancer, which he is on medication for, may have spread. Hampton was diagnosed in 2012 with bone and prostate cancer.

Considering Hampton’s age and health, it is very likely he will spend the rest of his life behind bars. In Michigan, sex crimes are punished harshly. Depending on the offense an individual is accused of committing, penalties may include fines, any number of years to life in prison, and the requirement to register as a sex offender. Unfortunately, there are individuals who are in prison today, convicted of crimes they did not commit.

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Michael Ettenberger, a former Indiana school principal, was recently charged with a variety of sex-related offenses after allegedly coaxing a Liberty Township woman into emailing him a sexual video and photographs of a 9-year-old girl, according to news reports at Mlive.com. Ettenberger, who is 46 years old and lives near Indianapolis, has been charged with child sexually abusive activity, possessing child sexually abusive material, second-degree criminal sexual conduct, two counts of soliciting a felony, and using a computer or the Internet to communicate with another to commit a crime. hand-over-keyboard-1377963-m.jpg

The defendant allegedly met Jill Miller of Liberty Township on a social media site. According to Assistant Prosecutor Steven Idema, the two became involved in a relationship which quickly transformed into a “sexual fantasy.”

Ettenberger allegedly encouraged Miller to incorporate a 9-year-old girl into their conversations via video and images; news reports indicate Miller was depicted in the images fondling the girl whose pants were lowered and shirt lifted. Miller is a mother to four children who are currently living with their father. A petition has been filed by a court which seeks to terminate Miller’s parental rights.

Miller pleaded guilty to several felony charges in November, including second-degree CSC. She was involved in a number of Columbia School District parent groups, and was president of the Columbia Middle School PTO. She is scheduled to be sentenced on January 8 by Circuit Judge John McBain.

Prosecutor Jerry Jarzynka announced on December 6 that Ettenberger was in the process of being extradited to Michigan. Both Jarzynka and Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry of Indiana applauded the work performed by law enforcement personnel in both states, given the challenges associated with investigating criminal offenses which involve multiple jurisdictions.

In Michigan, the penalties for a conviction of second-degree criminal sexual conduct include up to 15 years in prison. Considering the number of charges Ettenberger faces, it is likely he will face serious punishment if convicted. Miller may face harsh consequences as well upon her January sentencing date.

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In August we wrote about a Mattawan resident, James Alfred Beckman Jr., who was indicted by a grand jury on felony charges of sexually exploiting a child and receiving child pornography. On Friday November 29, federal prosecutors filed nine additional charges against Beckman in connection with his alleged sexual abuse of two boys during the time period between November of 2011 and September of 2012. hand-on-keyboard-1260787-m.jpg

The latest sexual exploitation charges, according to an indictment which supersedes the previous August 13 indictment, alleges incidents involving a boy younger than 10 years of age which are said to have occurred in April, May, and July of last year. The newest criminal charges against Beckman include one count of receipt of child pornography, two counts of distribution of child pornography, and six counts of sexual exploitation of a child and attempted sexual exploitation of a child, according to news reports at Mlive.com. He is expected to stand trial on all of the charges in January.

Beckman was employed by MPI Research as associate director of drug safety. An FBI special agent testified at an August pretrial conference, arraignment, and detention hearing that a computer linked to the defendant’s former employment at MPI contained more than 300 images of child pornography.

Anastase Markou, Beckman’s defense attorney, filed numerous motions in mid-November which seek to have six of the counts dismissed, along with suppression of certain evidence and the testimony of one of the alleged victims. Markou maintains that no webcam activity or captured images were discovered by federal investigators on Beckman’s personal or work computers, “despite and extensive and exhaustive analysis.” Markou alleges that the evidence in the case is purely circumstantial.

The charges against Beckman are extremely serious; if convicted, he could face up to life in prison. Cases involving children are extremely sensitive; neither the job of the prosecutor or defense attorney is easy. While it is true there are many sexual predators who prey on children in our society today, it is just as true that many innocent people sit behind bars, accused of sex-related crimes they did not commit.

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In August of this year, 36-year-old Jason J. Kenny was arraigned on two counts of child sexually abusive activity, both felony charges. In September, Kenny was arraigned on two additional counts of child sexually abusive activity, along with two counts of third-degree CSC with a person between the ages of 13 and 15. shutterstock_37643449.jpg

Bay City police allege that Kenny engaged in sex with a teenage, filming himself and the teen during the sexual encounter. In July, a worker at Child Protective Services reported to Bay County Sheriff’s deputies that a woman had discovered two videos of Kenny engaging in sex with a 16-year-old girl on her son’s cell phone. Deputies then began to investigate the allegations; the videos reported by the woman were turned over to investigators. Court records indicate the boy and teen girl were having sex, and that an adult male was also involved, although his face was not revealed in the video. The mother of the boy told authorities that she believed Kenny to be the unidentified male in the video. Kenny’s fiancée was interviewed by police; she concurred with the boy’s mother, saying that after watching the videos she believed the adult male to be Kenny.

Kenny denied involvement during interviews, saying that he felt the boy’s mother was trying to “get back” at him and was making false allegations.

A news article at Mlive.com indicates that in early August, both of the teens depicted in the video were interviewed at the Nathan Weidner Children’s Advocacy Center. Both of the teens allege that they did engage in sex with each other, but that the 16-year-old female also had sex with the defendant. While 16 year olds can consent to having sex in Michigan, recording sexual activity between participants who are under the age of 18 is prohibited by state law.

The female involved told investigators that when she was 15 she engaged in sex with Kenny on two different occasions; the third-degree criminal sexual conduct charges filed against Kenny stem from these allegations. He is schedule to appear in court on November 26 for a preliminary examination.

Michigan sex crime attorneys know that charges of child sexually abusive activity and third-degree CSC are extremely serious, and may leave the accused facing many years behind bars along with substantial fines. The defendant may face up to 20 years if convicted of child sexually abusive activity; third-degree CSC with someone between the ages of 13 and 15 is a 15 year felony.

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In July we wrote about Steven Berg, a Saginaw Township man who rejected a plea deal from prosecutors who had offered Berg to plead guilty to three charges of criminal sexual conduct in exchange for dismissal of five counts. Berg refused the plea offer; now, he faces 16 charges in connection with three alleged victims, according to a news article at Mlive.com. shutterstock_22845616.jpg

Berg, who is 44 years old, is now charged with two counts of causing a child to participate in sexually abusive material, one count of fourth degree criminal sexual conduct, possessing child sexually abusive material, four counts of first-degree CSC, six counts of second-degree CSC, and two counts of third-degree CSC. On Friday October 18, Saginaw County District Judge Terry L. Clark determined that prosecutors showed probable cause to take Berg to trial at the defendant’s preliminary hearing.

Berg was initially charged with four counts each of first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct, however after he rejected the plea deal prosecutors offered, Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Barnes pursued the additional charges which are connected to two other alleged victims, charges she said she would not have pursued had Berg accepted the plea deal.

The new charges are in connection with alleged sexual abuse which goes back to 2011, and involves one victim who is 16 years old, and one who is between 13 and 16 years of age.

Berg remains in jail without bond; if convicted, he could face life in prison.

The charges against the defendant in this case are extremely serious. First-degree criminal sexual conduct is the most serious of all sex crimes, and leaves the accused facing maximum punishment of life in prison. Had Berg accepted the plea offer, it may have resulted in less severe punishment.

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Kyle T. Lackie, a 24-year-old Chesaning man, recently rejected a plea offer in the alleged sexual assault of a 6-year-old girl in 2009. Lackie appeared before Saginaw County Circuit Judge Janet M. Boes on October 7, and rejected the prosecutor’s offer to dismiss one charge of second-degree criminal sexual conduct against someone under the age of 13 in exchange for his guilty plea. shutterstock_26988088.jpg

If Lackie had accepted the plea deal, he would have spent five years in prison according to a news article at Mlive.com. Prosecutors wanted Lackie to plead guilty to first-degree criminal sexual conduct, an offense that if convicted will leave Lackie facing a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison. The maximum sentence for first-degree CSC is life behind bars.

The charges stem from an alleged sexual assault of a 6-year-old girl in Chesaning in June of 2009. At a preliminary hearing in July of this year, Saginaw County District Judge Kyle Higgs Tarrant rules that prosecutors showed probable cause to put Lackie on trial in Circuit Court. Initially, Lackie was charged with one count of first-degree CSC; after listening to the alleged victim’s testimony, the judge tacked on a charge of second-degree CSC against someone younger than 13.

Lackie was initially charged with the sexual assault in June of this year; he has been imprisoned at the Cooper Street Correctional Facility in Jackson since that time, where he will remain after violating probation in connection with a marijuana possession case until at least mid-November according to news reports. The defendant is scheduled to go on trial for the sexual assault charges on November 5.

Whether Lackie made a good decision in rejecting the plea deal is questionable; if he is innocent of the accusations against him, it is understandable he would want to plead not guilty. However, if convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, he could potentially spend the rest of his life behind bars. Michigan sex crime defense attorneys understand the complexity of these types of cases, giving their clients the legal guidance and support necessary for the best possible outcome.

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Approximately three months ago we wrote about Chad Eric Servis, a Wyoming resident who allegedly attempted to “lure” young boys under the age of 16 to a secluded area of Ideal Park for immoral purposes. On Monday September 30, an article appeared at Mlive.com regarding the case; apparently the defendant and Kent County Prosecutor’s Office have not been able to negotiate a plea agreement. It appears that Servis will now be headed to trial to fight the charges against him.swing-1197364-m.jpg

Servis, a registered sex offender, was charged with two counts of accosting children for immoral purposes as a repeat offender in connection with the incident which happened in late June. The three boys were playing basketball near Ideal Park when Servis allegedly attempted to get the boys to go with him to an area of the park which is more secluded. News articles indicate that the boys instead left and went to tell their parents, who along with other friends and family members returned to the park to find Servis was still there. Police arrived shortly after while family members detained Servis.

The defendant was also charged with two counts of possession of sexually abusive material, and using a computer to commit a crime.

Last week, Frank Stanley, the defendant’s attorney, requested Kent County Circuit Court Judge Mark Trusock to force prosecutors to indicate which images located on his client’s computer constituted sexually abusive material. Stanley told the judge that none of the images constitute the charge in his opinion. Servis’ home was also searched following the allegations at the park which Stanley also disagreed with, arguing that because the defendant’s home had nothing to do with what allegedly occurred at the park police had no right to search it.

Stanley and Assistant Kent County Prosecutor Gregory Boer told the judge that at this time no plea agreement had been reached. It appears that Servis’ case will now proceed forth to trial. If convicted, Servis could serve a prison term of 10 years.

Because he is a registered sex offender, Servis’ sentence will likely be enhanced if convicted. Michigan sex crime defense lawyers know the serious penalties those who are accused of sex-related crimes face if convicted. While there is no doubt there are people all over the U.S. who commit these heinous crimes involving children every day, there is also no doubt that many who are accused are innocent. Without hard physical evidence, an accused individual may face criminal penalties based on nothing more than suspicion and the testimony of others. While defendants are said to be “innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” unfortunately there is often doubt in the minds of jurors when they determine someone is guilty of a crime.

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A Roseville resident, 33-year-old Darren Bailey, was recently charged by Macomb County prosecutors with one count of using a computer to commit a crime, two counts of child sexually abusive behavior, and one count of assaulting a police officer. According to Roseville police, Bailey intended to engage in a sex rendezvous involving a 14-year-old girl at a nearby park. The defendant was unaware at the time that the “date” he had set up was with law enforcement. swing-in-a-park-1351566-m.jpg

A news article at Mlive.com states that the girl’s father intercepted messages on the internet from the defendant which he believes were intended for his 14-year-old daughter; he then notified police of the inappropriate messages. Several agencies then set up a sting operation and began posing as the girl on the internet in order to catch Bailey. The agencies involved include the Southeast Michigan Crimes Against Children Task Force, and the Special Investigations Division of the Roseville Police Department.

On Thursday August 29, Roseville police said in a release that officers exchanged text messages with Bailey, who believed he was communicating with the girl. Officers claimed in the release that the suspect requested sexual favors and photos, and even sent photos of himself naked in order to try to entice the girl to meet him at the park. Bailey arrived at the park believing he was going to meet the victim for sexual favors, however was descended on by police who had to Taser the suspect when he ran.

Bailey was arraigned on Thursday; 39 District Court Judge Catherine B. Steeland set his bond at $1 million cash or surety. He is scheduled for a preliminary exam on the morning of September 11.

Michigan sex crime attorneys understand the seriousness of being charged with any sex-related offense. If convicted, Bailey may face up to 20 years in prison for child sexually abusive behavior. Using a computer to commit a sex crime is also a 20-year felony.

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On Monday August 26, 50-year-old Michael John Larson was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for child pornography distribution. Larson, who is a registered sex offender previously convicted on sex-related charges involving a child, allegedly distributed child pornography on the Internet. internet-1105360-m.jpg

In April of this year, Larson pleaded guilty to one count of distributing child pornography; federal court records indicate that a second count of possessing child porn was dismissed by the U.S. Attorney’s office in exchange for Larson’s guilty plea. Following a federal investigation involving child pornography occurring via peer-to-peer Internet file sharing, Larson was arrested in October of last year. On Monday, District Judge Robert Holmes Bell sentenced Larson to 15 years in federal prison followed by 10 years of supervised release.

Authorities found sexual images of children on Larson’s home computer after executing a search warrant; this followed the discovery of sexual images of prepubescent girls by a Grand Rapids based Homeland Security Investigations agent on a computer linked to the defendant. After pleading guilty to child pornography distribution in April, Larson has been lodged in the Newaygo County Jail. He is scheduled to be assigned to a federal penitentiary now that he has been sentenced.

In 1996, Larson was convicted on a charge of second-degree CSC with a person younger than 13; he served time in state prison from 1996 until his discharge in September of 2003.

All Michigan child pornography lawyers know how serious these types of accusations are, and the consequences for those who are convicted of what many feel are the most ‘heinous’ sexual crimes that can be committed. When a sex crime allegedly involves young children, the punishment is extremely harsh. At the same time, it is often the case that individuals are falsely accused as children may be coerced by adults who have an “ax to grind” into saying things that simply are not true.

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On Tuesday August 20, 18-year-old Jacob Snyder was indicted by a grand jury on one count each of possessing, distributing, and receiving child pornography according to federal court records. Snyder is a former student of Eastern Michigan University. laptop-work-1260785-m.jpg

Federal authorities allegedly found numerous videos and pictures of children who were unclothed on Snyder’s computer; the children were said to be younger than 12 years old in a news article at AnnArbor.com.

Authorities executed a warrant at Snyder’s father’s home in Ypsilanti Township, locating the suspect’s Dell laptop. Officials believe Snyder obtained a portion of the child pornography from his father’s IP address where he lives in the 5800 block of Textile Road. An affidavit signed by United States Customs Service special agent Bradley Manning states that Snyder consented to having the computer searched.

In September of 2012, Snyder was interviewed at both his father’s residence, and in his EMU dormitory room. He was a freshman at the time of the interview, although the student directory indicates he is no longer enrolled at the university. Snyder admitted during interviews to using Limewire, Ares, and other peer-to-peer file sharing networks for “maintaining and trafficking child pornography” while accessing the Internet through the IP address subscribed to by his father.

Court records indicate Snyder admitted to having child pornography stored on additional hard drivers which were located in a storage locker. Records also reveal authorities located 171 videos and 47 images of children who were engaged in what was called a “lascivious” display of the pubic and genital areas.

Snyder’s preliminary exam was scheduled for Friday August 23; he is scheduled to go before Judge Denise Page Hood for a jury trial on October 1 in U.S. District Court.

As all Michigan child pornography lawyers are aware, many innocent individuals are behind bars today for sex offenses they did not commit. While the defendant in this case admitted to the crimes, the penalties will be harsh if convicted. Those who receive sexually explicit material intended for distribution or who distribute child sexually abusive material may face a fine of up to $50,000 along with up to 7 years in prison.

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