July 29, 2014 at 5:44 pm

Ex-Christian radio host pleads guilty in child porn probe in West Michigan

John Balyo (wzzm.com)

Grand Rapids — A former host at a popular Christian radio station in western Michigan has pleaded guilty in a child pornography investigation.

John Balyo told a federal judge Tuesday that he photographed sex acts with a 12-year-old boy at a Kalamazoo County hotel. He pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation and possessing child pornography.

Balyo says he knew it was wrong.

According to WOOD-TV, Balyo was soft-spoken during his court appearance Tuesday morning, replying to the judge’s questions with “Yes, your honor,” and “No, your honor.”

The 35-year-old was a host at Christian radio station WCSG in Grand Rapids until his arrest June 20 at a Christian music festival in Gaylord. His arrest was related to state charges of criminal sexual conduct. That case still is pending in Calhoun County.

According to his plea, Balyo and another man met with a 12-year-old boy in a Kalamazoo hotel room in April, WOOD- TV reported. The men sexually assaulted the boy, who Balyo paid cash.

Balyo admitted he took pictures with a camera and an iPhone during the sexual assault and then put the images on a computer, WOOD-TV reported. Balyo gave the computer and other items to an acquaintance, who federal authorities said turned over to police after seeing news reports about the case.

Balyo faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in federal prison but his sentence could be longer.

Balyo’s defense attorney, David Dodge, released a statement on his client’s behalf, according to WOOD-TV.

“John Balyo is completely remorseful and is taking every step to reduce the trauma and misery of people having to come to court. (Balyo) is proactively resolving this … with full acceptance of responsibility.”

Associated Press contributed.

John Balyo (wzzm.com)