GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – Normann Pittelkow, 42, and his long-time girlfriend Nicole Jacob, 35, of Albion, Michigan, both pled guilty in federal court this week to producing child pornography. Pittelkow admitted that he video recorded a child posing naked and in lingerie and sold the video, as well as one of her in the bathtub, for $200 to someone he met online, and he also admitted to possessing pornographic pictures he produced of three other children. Jacob admitted to posing with three children in lingerie and nude in a series of photographs that Pittelkow took, which she intended to sell online but never did. The couple fled the state and traveled to the southwest and southeast parts of the country. They eventually surrendered after a nationwide bulletin went out for their arrest.
Pittelkow faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years and a combined maximum of 40 years in prison, and Jacob faces 15 to 30 years. They will be sentenced in October. Both Pittelkow and Jacob must register as sex offenders, agreed to pay restitution, and could spend up to a lifetime on intensive federal supervised release after prison.
The Albion Department of Public Safety and Homeland Security Investigations jointly investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tessa K. Hessmiller prosecuted the case.
"The children in this case were rescued from an unimaginable situation after one of them made a brave disclosure to a friend," said U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles. "I applaud that young girl for coming forward and not suffering in silence any longer, and I commend the Albion Department of Public Safety for executing a search warrant that night, where officers found the evidence that brought this couple to justice."
"The public provided critical assistance in this investigation, which ultimately led to this couple’s surrender," said HSI Special Agent in Charge Marlon Miller. "HSI will bring to bear technology and other forms of investigative techniques to ensure that the most vulnerable among us are protected from child predators."
"Many people do not realize the magnitude of evidence generated in these cases, which makes it extremely difficult for small departments to investigate on their own," said Chief Scott Kipp of the Albion Department of Public Safety. "Albion Public Safety would like to thank Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for all their assistance in this investigation. Without the assistance provided by the Federal Agencies involved, we would still be searching through the evidence. It is the cooperation between agencies in all branches of government that help swiftly bring these criminals who prey on small children to justice.
This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. The U.S. Attorney’s Office; county prosecutor’s offices; and federal, state, and local law enforcement are working closely together to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children. Individuals with information or concerns about possible child exploitation should contact local law enforcement. For more information about Project Safe Childhood in West Michigan, including resources for children and parents, visit: http://www.justice.gov/usao/miw/programs/psc.html.