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March 8, 2017Detroit, MIUnited StatesChild Exploitation

Michigan man sentenced to 90 years following child exploitation investigation

DETROIT— A Michigan man was sentenced Wednesday to 90 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to charges that he produced child pornography, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade announced the sentencing with Steve Francis, acting special agent in charge of HSI Detroit.

Michael Pierce, 60, of Lake Orion, Michigan, pleaded guilty last fall to three counts of production of child pornography. In March 2016, authorities served a search warrant at Pierce’s residence, seizing his computer and digital storage devices, which were found to contain at least 100 photographs and approximately 30 videos depicting child pornography. The investigation revealed Pierce produced the content of himself while committing illicit acts against minor victims.

In a related probe, Robert Dunning, 53, Pierce’s co-defendant, was sentenced to more than 17 years in prison in January.

According to the investigation, Dunning had viewed child pornography but believed he had deleted it all using a program called “file shredder.”  Dunning also admitted to seeing videos of Michael Pierce engaged in illicit acts with minors. Dunning pleaded guilty in September 2016.

This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 14,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2015, nearly 2,400 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 1,000 victims identified or rescued.

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.

Updated: 03/09/2017