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Tag Archive | "child pornography"

Former Rockford rowing coach sentenced


Timothy Warren Vallier

Timothy Warren Vallier

A former Rockford rowing coach that admitted recording videos of female athletes changing their clothes will spend 22 years behind bars.

Acting U.S. Attorney Andrew Byerly Birge announced Thursday, May 18, that Timothy Vallier, 31, of Plainfield Township, was sentenced on charges of attempted sexual exploitation of children and possession of child pornography. U.S. District Judge Gordon J. Quist imposed a sentence of 22 years. In addition to the prison term, Vallier was ordered to serve 5 years of supervised release, to pay restitution, and to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

On September 28, 2016, Vallier pled guilty to producing approximately 86 hidden camera videos of girls changing clothes at two high school facilities: the Rockford rowing team’s boathouse and the Rockford Freshman Center. He made these videos between January 2012 and April 2016 while he was the rowing coach at Rockford High School. The charges followed an investigation by the Kent County Sheriff’s Department, the Michigan State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and Homeland Security Investigations.

Rockford Public School Superintendent Mike Shibler contacted the Kent County Sheriff Department on the morning of July 8, 2016, after receiving a call from one of the crew (rowing) parents informing him that a video camera had been found in a crew vehicle with inappropriate footage.

Two assistant coaches in the vehicle reportedly saw the camera, and when one of the girls got curious and looked at it, found footage of two female athletes changing their clothes inside the changing room area of the Rockford Crew House located at 5501 Jupiter Ave., in Plainfield Township. Vallier was then arrested on July 10.

State charges were later dismissed since he was being prosecuted on federal charges.

“While no amount of prison time can adequately punish a child predator, this sentencing will hopefully begin the healing process for those impacted by Mr. Vallier’s depraved acts,” said HSI Acting Special Agent in Charge Steve Francis. “This was an excellent collaboration between HSI and its partners at the Kent County Sheriff’s Office and Michigan State Police to bring this predator to justice.”

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196. Information concerning suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST. For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the suspect alerts page.

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.

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Federal charges filed against former Rockford rowing coach


 

Timothy Warren Vallier

Timothy Warren Vallier

A former Rockford coach that allegedly recorded videos of high school girls changing their clothes in the locker room now faces federal charges.

Timothy Warren Vallier, 30, the former head coach of the rowing team at Rockford Public Schools, was arraigned in federal court on Thursday, July 28, on federal criminal charges of possession and attempted production of child pornography.

The Plainfield Township man was arrested on July 8, after an investigation by the Kent County Sheriff’s Department and the Michigan State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Rockford Public School Superintendent Mike Shibler contacted the Kent County Sheriff Department on the morning of July 8 after receiving a call from one of the crew (rowing) parents informing him that a video camera had been found in a crew vehicle with inappropriate footage.

Two assistant coaches in the vehicle reportedly saw the camera, and when one of the girls got curious and looked at it, found footage of two female athletes changing their clothes inside the changing room area of the Rockford Crew House located at 5501 Jupiter Ave., in Plainfield Township.

Vallier reportedly admitted to police that he put the camcorder in the girls changing room on multiple occasions. He also said he has done this several times over the last few years, and has videos of other female athletes.

He was initially arraigned in 63rd District on two obscenity charges—one charge of child sexually abusive commercial activity and one charge of possession of child sexually abusive material; and two charges of using a computer in the commission of a crime.

The state charges will be dropped now that criminal charges have been filed.

The federal criminal complaint alleges that Vallier took hundreds of hidden videos of girls changing in locker rooms while he was the head rowing coach at the Rockford Public Schools and that a computer in his possession contained additional child pornography.

The government asked the court to detain Vallier pending trial, and he will remain in custody pending a hearing before a grand jury.

If convicted, Vallier faces a minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in federal prison on each count of attempting to produce child pornography and up to 20 years for possession. Each offense also carries a requirement for sex offender registration, a potential fine of up to $250,000 and financial compensation to the victims, and up to lifetime of intensive supervised release after incarceration, during which the court can impose a number of special conditions designed to protect children.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST. For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tessa K. Hessmiller as part of the Department of Justice’s 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.

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Former Survivor contestant arraigned on felony charges


Michael Skupin is shown here with En Gedi after his talk five years ago.

Michael Skupin is shown here with En Gedi after his talk five years ago.

Michael Skupin charged with possession of child pornography, racketeering

Five years ago this week, former Survivor contestant Michael Skupin was a guest speaker at Cedar Springs’ En Gedi Youth Center, where he shared his inspirational story with 120 kids and parents. Many remember him as the man who passed out and fell into the fire on live TV and was medivaced by helicopter to a hospital in Australia.

Earlier this week, Skupin was arraigned on a dozen felony charges. Michigan State Attorney General Schuette charged Skupin, 54, of Oakland County, with six counts of possession of Child Sexually Abusive Materials (a four-year felony), five counts of Larceny by Conversion (a five-year felony), and one count of Racketeering-Conducting a Criminal Enterprise (a 20-year felony) for his role in allegedly running and promoting a Ponzi scheme.

Not only did this man rob people of their hard earned savings with his financial scams but he victimized innocent children every time he looked at a piece of child pornography,” said Schuette. “This man seems to have no concept or caring for right and wrong and will be prosecuted under the full extent of the law for these horrific crimes.”

An investigation began into Skupin after victims from his alleged Ponzi scheme contacted a local news reporter. It is alleged that Michael Skupin recruited investors and friends to take part in his “gifting scheme” called Pay It Forward. Victims allegedly made $10,000 cash investments in the scheme. Their money would then cycle through a chart in which participants were eventually paid out of other new investors’ money. The scheme was discovered when eventually there were no new investors signing and most people in the scheme lost all of their money.

Skupin’s laptop was searched in conjunction with the Ponzi scheme investigation. During the search, investigators discovered images of underage children in sexual situations. The images are alleged to belong to Skupin.

Skupin was arraigned Friday, February 5, 2016 in 52-2 District Court in Clarkston before Magistrate Daniel Schuman. Bond was set at $350,000. If bond is met, Skupin must wear a GPS tether, cannot have any unsupervised visits with children or leave the state. Skupin will next appear in court for a pre-exam conference on Friday, February 19, 2016 at 9 a.m.

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