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Christian broadcaster arrested on child sex charges in Michigan

Source: Reuters - Mon, 23 Jun 2014 16:05 GMT
Author: Reuters
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By Carey Gillam

June 23 (Reuters) - A Michigan radio personality, known for his work on "family friendly" Christian broadcasts, was due in court Monday on charges of paying a middleman to arrange sexual encounters with young boys, authorities said.

John Balyo, 35, of Caledonia, Michigan, was arrested Friday on state charges of criminal sexual conduct with a child under the age of 13, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Michigan State Police, according to a statement issued by ICE.

Balyo was in custody, with an arraignment scheduled for Monday afternoon in Calhoun County District Court, according to court records.

Balyo allegedly paid another man to arrange sexual encounters with multiple boys, according to law enforcement officials. He was arrested at a Christian music festival and charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

The Grand Rapids, Michigan radio station, WCSG, said that as of Friday, Balyo was no longer affiliated with the station, and General Manager Chris Lemke issued a statement asking for prayers for "justice to prevail."

"We are shocked and deeply saddened by the news ... we trust in a God who is just and sovereign and will see us through this difficult time," Lemke said in the statement.

WCSG bills itself as a "family friendly," media "influence for Christ."

The arrest was part of a investigation dubbed Operation Predator, launched in 2003 by ICE, which has so far led to the arrests of more than 10,000 people for crimes against children. (Reporting by Carey Gillam; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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