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Press Release

Prior Convicted Felon Sentenced to 25 Years in Federal Prison for Attempting to Produce Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Michigan

DETROIT – Andrew Joseph Vinyard, 43, of Ypsilanti, was sentenced yesterday to 25 years in federal prison on charges of attempted production of child pornography, announced United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison. Vinyard was sentenced by United States District Judge Laurie Michelson following his guilty plea in June of this year.

Ison was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge James A. Tarasca of the Federal Bureau of Investigation-Detroit Division (FBI).

According to court documents, in November of 2019, Vinyard began offering two fourteen-year-old victims "modeling opportunities" and money in exchange for sex. In response to the concerns of the victims’ parents, an undercover officer posing as a female student at the same school as the minor victims, contacted Vinyard via his Instagram account. After being told that the undercover officer was 14 years old, Vinyard offered to purchase the undercover officer a new phone in exchange for sex acts and for the undercover officer taking sexually explicit photos with the phone. Vinyard also offered the undercover officer $500 to get together and get high on cocaine so he could "take her virginity" and take sexually explicit photographs of her. Vinyard requested multiple photos and videos of the undercover officer engaging in sexual activity. Vinyard also solicited live video texts of the undercover officer so Vinyard could direct the undercover officer to perform sex acts on herself.

“Today’s sentence reaffirms our office’s commitment to protecting the most vulnerable and defenseless members of our community – children,” said U.S. Attorney Ison. “It is our hope that a 25-year sentence sends a message to the defendant, and the community at large that we will continue to root out this type of evil in our society and pursue stiff sentences for defendants like this who repeatedly prey on the young.”

“Protecting children from dangerous, serial child predators like Andrew Vinyard is a priority for our office," said James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Detroit Field Office. "His repeated attempts to lure and exploit children are deplorable and our young people are safer with him behind bars. I am proud of the FBI, our law enforcement partners, and the concerned parents that came forward to hold this man accountable."

The case was investigated by the officers of the Huron Township Police Department and special agents of the FBI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Eaton Brown.

Updated October 21, 2022

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