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GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – Jeffrey Victor Marchione, 48, of Grand Rapids, was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to distributing and possessing over 44,000 images and videos of child pornography, U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles announced today. Marchione was a licensed counselor and mentor to numerous adolescent boys, as well as adoptive parent, foreign host parent, and foster parent to 29 children. He also pled guilty in the 17th Circuit Court, State of Michigan, to Criminal Sexual Conduct, Third Degree (Person 13-15) for having oral sex with a teenage boy. He faces sentencing on the state charge later this month.
In delivering the sentence, U.S. District Judge Robert J. Jonker stated, “In my experience, this has got to be the largest collection of child pornography I have seen in a single case.” Referring to allegations by several young men that they were molested by Marchione over the past 22 years, Judge Jonker continued, “This is a very serious underlying set of conduct and violations of the law.” The prison sentence will be followed by lifetime supervised release.
U.S. Attorney Miles commented: “People with a sexual interest in children who put themselves in positions of authority and mentorship over youth exploit the trust of everyone in our community. People like Marchione who prey on children for sexual gratification and who supply child pornography to others will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
In January 2012, two different undercover agents downloaded child pornography from Marchione through an online file-sharing program. Marchione told one of the undercover agents in a chat session that he was interested in 10-14 year-old boys and that he had sexual contact with boys in the past. In August 2012, the FBI executed a search warrant at Marchione’s home and seized computers and external hard drives containing over 44,000 images and videos of child pornography. The investigation uncovered an online chat session in which Marchione instructed another person to become an activity leader or tutor in his community to find a child to molest. He sent 150 pages of instructions on how to find and molest a child without the child telling anyone and instructing readers to find a vulnerable child who needs someone to trust.
This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. The U.S. Attorney's Office, county prosecutor’s offices, the Internet Crimes Against Children task force (ICAC), and federal, state, and local law enforcement work closely together to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children. The partners in Project Safe Childhood also work to educate local communities about the dangers of online child exploitation and to teach children how to protect themselves. For more information about project, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov. Individuals with information or concerns about possible child exploitation should contact local law enforcement.
The FBI investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tessa K. Hessmiller prosecuted it.