A man sentenced to 40 years in prison for leading an international child pornography ring was severely beaten and died following a fight with several inmates at federal detention center in southeast Michigan, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Christian Maire, 40, was pronounced dead at the Milan detention center, which is about 45 miles southwest of Detroit. The detention center is located next to the low-security Milan prison. Maire was from Binghamton, New York.
What was the crime?
Maire's case drew national attention after federal prosecutors showed how he and a group of other men manipulated and lured more than 100 girls nationwide into their underage porn ring. An Oakland County, Michigan, girl helped the FBI dismantle the operation in 2017.
The victims ranged in age from 10 to 17.
The men coerced the girls into performing sex acts on camera and held "trust-building" sessions that involved winning a victim's trust if she was suicidal or was cutting herself, for example.
They recruited victims by pretending to be teenage boys. First, they stole pictures online and set up fake profiles. Next, they "scoured popular social media sites looking for targets. Their hunting grounds included Gifyo, Periscope, YouNow, and MyLOL.com, which describes itself as 'the No. 1 teen dating site in the U.S., Australia, U.K. and Canada,' " the Detroit Free Press reported.
In December, Maire, a married father of two from New York, "sobbed in court, telling the judge, 'I am sick,' " as he begged for a chance to redeem himself, according to reports.
Details on his death were not immediately released, but it was labeled an apparent homicide. Visiting hours at the prison were suspended and it was placed on "limited operational status," the Detroit Free Press reported.
Three inmates involved in the fight sustained serious injuries and two prison staffers had minor injuries.
Who else was sentenced?
Before sentencing, U.S. District Judge Stephen Murphy said in December. "The amount of psychological damage done to the victims is of a very serious concern. This behavior deserves an extremely serious punishment."
The Detroit Free Press listed the others in the child porn ring and their sentences, as follows:
- Arthur Simpatico, 47, of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada; sentenced to 38 years.
- Jonathan Negroni Rodriguez, 37, of West Hollywood, California; was sentenced to 35 years.
- Michal Figura, 36, of Swarthmore, Pennsylvania; sentenced to 31¼ years.
- Odell Ortega, 37, of Miami; sentenced to 37½ years.
- Brett Jonathan Sinta, 36, of Hickory, North Carolina; sentenced to 30½ years.
- Caleb Young, 38, of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio; sentenced to 30 years.
- Daniel Walton, 34 Saginaw, Texas; sentenced to 30½ years.