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A former University of Michigan-affiliated doctor was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison on child exploitation charges, federal officials said.

Mark Hoeltzel, 47, pleaded guilty in September before U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow to online enticement of a minor. 

In December 2017, investigators searched his Ann Arbor home and seized electronic devices and found more than 300 images of child pornography, according to federal court records.

The government said that in 2017, Hoeltzel created a Facebook account for a fictitious teenage boy, then communicated online with numerous minor girls across the country. During these conversations, the former pediatric rheumatoid arthritis doctor convinced the youths to produce child pornography, authorities reported.

"The sentencing handed down in this case reflects the serious nature of the crimes committed, which are particularly troubling given the defendant's role in the community as a physician,'" said Special Agent in Charge Steve Francis, Department of Homeland Security Investigation. “Mr. Hoeltzel abandoned his oath to "do no harm" and instead sought opportunities to harm and exploit innocent children. This case shows that HSI is committed to investigating child predators regardless of the positions they hold in society.”

Hoeltzel had previously worked as a pediatric rheumatologist with Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor.

An administrative complaint by the state Attorney General's Office last year recommended that he lose his medical license for multiple misconduct allegations, including that Hoeltzel was intimate with a patient while at work. The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs’ professional licensing bureau ordered the license suspended. He also was removed from patient care duties before  he lost his job.

Hoeltzel later was arrested on the child porn charges while returning to Michigan after undergoing six weeks of treatment for sex addiction at a clinic in Philadelphia.

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