GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Mark Totten today announced that repeat sex offender Justin Lee Sloothaak, of Holland, Michigan, age 32, was sentenced to 27 years and 6 months in federal prison following Sloothaak’s guilty plea to sexually exploiting a child.
“The sexual exploitation of children is inexcusable and intolerable,” said U.S. Attorney Totten. “Sexual predators who commit heinous crimes against children inflict lifelong damage in the lives of their young victims. My office is committed to working with law enforcement partners to ensure that sex offenders who assault our children are held fully accountable.”
Investigators from the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation uncovered evidence that Sloothaak sexually assaulted a child from West Michigan in 2022. Sloothaak filmed the assault using his smartphone and included the video in his collection of other pornographic videos featuring children. At the time Sloothaak committed the offense, he was on parole following his 2015 sexual assault of another child.
While explaining the reasons for Sloothaak’s lengthy sentence, United States District Judge Jane M. Beckering remarked on the seriousness of Sloothaak’s crime, observing, “This is, absent murder, probably the most traumatizing thing you can do to a human being, especially a minor.”
“The FBI is deeply committed to protecting the most vulnerable members of our society, particularly our children, and bringing predators like the defendant to justice,” said Cheyvoryea Gibson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan. “The sentence in this case reflects the gravity of the crimes committed, which are particularly distressing given the defendant’s repeated attempts to harm and exploit minors. I want to express my gratitude to the dedicated law enforcement partners of the West Michigan Based Child Exploitation Task Force (WEBCHEX) for their invaluable assistance in securing some measure of justice for the victim.”
This case arose from Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, visit https://www.justice.gov/psc.