Former Christian radio host pleads guilty to federal child porn charges

Updated: Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Former Christian radio host pleads guilty to federal child porn charges story image

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A former Christian radio host pleads guilty to producing and possessing child pornography.

Thirty-four-year-old John Balyo was in federal court in Grand Rapids Tuesday, where he admitted he's guilty of sexual exploitation of a child and possession of child pornography

Newschannel 3's Stacia Mullaney was in court. She's live in the newsroom with what Balyo had to say.

In court, John Balyo said he is guilty of both federal charges -- admitting he photographed sex acts with a 12-year-old boy at a Kalamazoo hotel and then paid the child for it.

Balyo pleaded guilty to producing and possessing child pornography. Federal authorities say that on April 19, Balyo and another man brought a 12-year-old boy to a Kalamazoo hotel room. That's where he took sexually-explicit photos of the boy, involving bondage -- with the child in handcuffs and tied to the bed.  At that time, they say Balyo engaged in sexual conduct with the child.

Tuesday in court as he entered his guilty plea, Balyo said, "I did take images of a child under 18 and they were sexually explicit as described."

He also said, "I performed sexual acts as described and knowingly possessed images on my computer and I knew it was wrong."

Balyo also faces a state charge of first-degree criminal-sexual conduct involving an 11-year-old boy in Calhoun County. He'll be back in district court on that charge next month.

As for the federal charges, Balyo faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison, up to a maximum of 50 years. If he's convicted on state charges as well, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.

His federal sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 6.

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