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Press Release

Lowell Man Sentenced to 30 Years for Producing Child Pornography at a Daycare

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

           GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – Travis C. Stiehl, 23, received a sentence today of 30 years in federal prison for producing child pornography at his mother’s daycare facility in Lowell, Michigan. Stiehl pled guilty in August 2014 to one count of producing child pornography of a 4-year-old boy. As part of the plea, the prosecution dismissed seven other counts of producing child pornography of children ages 2 to 14 between 2011 and 2013, and one count of possessing over 2,000 images and video of child pornography that Stiehl received through the internet. As part of the sentence, the judge included a condition of lifetime supervised release and an order that Stiehl undergo a psychological and physiological examination for sexual dangerousness before he can be released from the Bureau of Prisons.

           In delivering the maximum possible sentence to Stiehl, Chief United States District Judge Paul L. Maloney said, “I view him as a major threat. A more horrific crime short of death is hard to imagine. Children were dropped off at a daycare facility and were victimized by one of the occupants of the home.” He added, “The victimization and the wreckage here is monumental to multiple families.” Judge Maloney explained that “lives have been shattered by the defendant’s actions,” and no mitigating factors exist to warrant a sentence below the maximum authorized.

           “This U.S. Attorney’s Office is working hard to protect the vulnerable and prevent child exploitation,” said U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles. “We are vigorously prosecuting those who create and support the market for child pornography, and they are facing significant prison sentences.”

           “This case is particularly disturbing because the defendant had direct access to children,” said Marlon Miller, special agent in charge of HSI Detroit. “But it also illustrates the severe penalties that await those who abuse their positions of trust to engage in this type of depraved activity.”

           Stiehl was arrested April 25, 2014, and has been in custody since that time. The families of all the children photographed or videotaped by Stiehl were identified and notified directly by investigators. Families with questions about whether their children were victims are invited to contact Homeland Security Investigations at 616-235-3936, extension 2215.

           The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Michigan State Police Internet Crimes Against Children. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tessa K. Hessmiller prosecuted the case.


Updated April 10, 2015