Lowell sex offender gets 60 years in prison

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Justin Walling, 28, of Lowell was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for sexual offenses against a minor. Walling was a registered sex offender at the time of the crime. 

In July 2015, he used a fake name and befriended a 13-year-old girl on Facebook. Pretending to be "Justin Blade" online, he sent her nude photos of himself and asked her to send sexually explicit photos to him. The girl told Walling that she was underage. 

During the trial, she explained that she was lonely and wanted a friend. She thought that by doing what Walling asked, he would be her friend. So, she sent him pornographic images of herself. 

Twice, he picked her up and took her to his house in Lowell, where they had sex. 

For this crime, he was charged with two counts of enticement of a minor, one count of sexual exploitation of a minor, one count of receiving child pornography and one count for additional penalties for committing the crimes while registered as a sex offender. 

He was convicted on all counts. 

Before Walling befriended the girl on Facebook, he had a long history of criminal misconduct:

  • In 2004, he had a juvenile adjudication for first degree criminal sexual misconduct
  • In 2007, he pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted third degree criminal sexual conduct with two 13-year-old victims
  • In 2008, he violated probation when he was found associating with a 15-year-old girl
  • In 2008, he was arrested for violating probation and police found he had pornographic images of a 16-year-old girl he met online
  • 2014, he was released from prison following a conviction for possession of child pornography. He then registered as a sex offender. 

U.S. District Judge Maloney said the sentence was necessary to protect the public because Walling is a predator who exploited a vulnerable victim who was underage. In addition to prison time, Walling will also be under lifetime supervision after his release. 

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