A former Christian radio host who was arrested last month over allegations that he was paying for sexual encounters with minors pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of sexual exploitation of a child and possession of child pornography.
“I performed a sexual act as described and I knowingly possessed the images on my camera,” Balyo told U.S. Magistrate Judge Ellen Carmody, according to MLive.com. “I knew it was wrong.”
He admitted to restraining a 12-year-old boy and photographing images that were “sexually explicit involving bondage and nudity” during an assault in April at a Michigan hotel.
Balyo, 34, struck a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, pleading guilty to charges of criminal sexual conduct. In exchange for his plea, Balyo will not be charged with additional violations that emerge as the investigation forges on, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The former radio host will be sentenced in November and could spend between 15 and 50 years behind bars. In addition to federal charges, Balyo could also face charges from the state.
Formerly a host with WCSG radio, a gospel station, he was terminated from his position after the story of his arrest broke in late June. In a statement posted on the WCSG website last month, general manager Chris Lemke said that staffers were “shocked and deeply saddened” by the situation.
“We trust in a God who is just and sovereign and will see us through this difficult time,” he said. “Effective today, John Balyo is no longer affiliated with WCSG Radio.”
Investigators with the Homeland Security Investigations, Michigan State Police and Battle Creek Police Department detained Balyo at a Christian concert in Gaylord, Michigan, on June 20, WZZM-TV reported.
Authorities charge that another man, Ronald Lee Moser, 42, ran a website that provided sexual encounters with underage boys; his home was raided in early June.
Police also claim that Balyo was paying Moser to coordinate the encounters with minors. Balyo will testify in Moser’s trial if necessary, according to the Free Press.
(H/T: Charisma News)