Registered Sex Offender Sentenced To 60 Years In Prison For Enticement And Sexual Exploitation Of A Minor
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN –Justin Michael Walling, 28, of Lowell, Michigan was ordered to spend 60 years in federal prison for sexual offenses against a minor, Acting U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced today. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney ordered lifetime supervision for Walling after his release.
Walling has a long history of criminal sexual misconduct. In 2004, he had a juvenile adjudication for first-degree criminal sexual misconduct. In 2007, he pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted third-degree criminal sexual conduct with two victims who were 13 years old. In 2008, he violated probation when he was found associating with a 15 year-old girl. When arrested for the probation violation, police discovered that Walling possessed pornographic images of a 16 year-old girl that he met online. That conduct resulted in a conviction for possession of child pornography. He was sentenced to prison and released in August 2014. As a result of these convictions, Walling was required to register as a sex offender.
In July 2015, using a pseudonym of "Justin Blade,"Walling befriended a thirteen-year-old girl on Facebook. She told him she was underaged. He sent her nude photographs of himself and asked her for sexually explicit photographs. At trial, the child explained that she was lonely and wanted a friend; she thought doing these things would make Walling her friend. As requested, she sent him pornographic images of herself. Twice he drove to her town to pick her up and take her back to his residence in Lowell, where they had sex.
Walling was charged with two counts of enticement of a minor, one count of sexual exploitation of a minor, one count of receipt of child pornography, and one count imposing additional penalties for committing the crimes while registered as a sex offender. He went to trial and was convicted of all counts on April 24, 2017.
Judge Maloney stated that the sentence imposed was necessary to protect the public because Walling is a predator who exploited a very vulnerable victim, who was under the age of consent. The Court emphasized that though it might be hard for the victim to put this behind her, "her voice has been heard."
"Today’s sentence effectively ends Justin Walling’s ability to sexually exploit children and underscores the commitment of the FBI, the West Michigan Based Child Exploitation Task Force (WEBCHEX) and the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office to protecting our vulnerable youth against sexual predators," said David P. Gelios, Special Agent in Charge, Detroit Division of the FBI.
The FBI’s West Michigan Based Child Exploitation Task Force and the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexis M. Sanford prosecuted and tried the case.