Taylor man receives 25-year sentence for sexual exploitation of minors

Hannah Mackay
The Detroit News

A Taylor man, 53, was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years in federal prison for sexually exploiting children and possessing child pornography.

Officials say that in 2010, Kenneth Hartley pretended to be a teen girl and used the Skype messaging platform to trick a minor into sending sexually explicit images of himself. Hartley also used the Kik social media platform to get sexually explicit images from two 13-year-old boys in 2014 and 2015. 

“In addition to possessing child pornography, Mr. Hartley actively created it for himself and others by exploiting vulnerable children around the world,” James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit Division, said in a press release announcing the sentencing with U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison. “Today’s sentence serves as a warning to others like him the FBI will aggressively pursue anyone who victimizes and exploits children.”

In total, authorities say, more than 100 minors were victims of Hartley's sexual exploitation. During the execution of a warrant for his home in December 2020, authorities say they found he possessed more than 46,000 images of child pornography. Of the 19 victims who were identified, 17 were younger than 12 when Hartley targeted them; the youngest was 8 years old. 

Following an investigation by the FBI's Southeast Michigan Trafficking and Exploitation Crimes Task Force, Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Rawsthorne prosecuted Hartley. 

He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts.