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Press Release

South Carolina Sex Offender Sentenced For Child Exploitation

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

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney Mark Totten today announced that Christopher James Masterson, 35, of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina was sentenced to 30 years in the Bureau of Prisons for the sexual exploitation of minor children.  In imposing sentence, U.S. District Judge Janet T. Neff noted that Masterson was one of the top two or three most egregious sex offenders she had sentenced.  Masterson will be on supervised release for 10 years when he gets out of prison.                                                         

          “This horrific type of predatory conduct harms the most vulnerable members of our society leaving irreparable damage in its wake,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten.  “Those who seek to exploit children should know that my office will bring them to justice.”

          Masterson engaged in a multi-year process of grooming a minor victim, ultimately convincing her to send live video footage of sexual acts involving herself and a sibling via social media.  He was arrested after traveling from South Carolina to Chippewa County, Michigan to engage in sexual conduct with the victim.  When law enforcement seized his phone, they found sexually explicit videos of the victim with Masterson directing her activities.

          “HSI and our law enforcement partners will continue to prioritize the safety and security of children in our communities,” said Special Agent in Charge Angie Salazar. “For our team, the work of caring for the victims of these despicable crimes is just as important as bringing predators like Masterson 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 for the Western District of Michigan; county prosecutor’s offices; HSI; Michigan State Police’s Internet Crimes Against Children task force; the West Michigan Based Child Exploitation Task Force (WEBCHEX); and federal, state, and local law enforcement are working closely together to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children.  Anyone 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, please visit:

          This matter was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribal Police, the Michigan State Police, the Chippewa County Sheriff's Office, the City of Sault Ste. Marie Police Department, and U.S. Border Patrol.  The case was prosecuted by AUSA Paul D. Lochner and former AUSA Hannah N. Bobee.


Updated December 20, 2022

Project Safe Childhood