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Hudsonville man sentenced to 15 years for sexually exploiting teenage girl

The Hudsonville man used social media to have sexually explicit chats with children as young as 12. Federal prosecutors say he tried to meet up with minors for sex.
Credit: AP
The exterior of the federal courthouse is shown March 9, 2022, in Grand Rapids, Mich. (AP Photo/Mike Householder)

HUDSONVILLE, Mich. — A Hudsonville man was sentenced to 15 years in prison Friday for sexually exploiting dozens of underaged girls.

Austin Thomas Noel, 27, was handed a 210-month prison sentence, in addition to seven years of supervised release. 

In January 2022, the mother of a teenage girl reported that her daughter had been having sexually explicit chats with a man under the account name "official_anoel". The chats started when the girl was 13 years old and continued for two years.

The FBI identified Noel as the man behind the account. During the investigation, the FBI found about 700 chats between Noel and young women and girls. About 37 of the girls said they were under 18. Investigators say Noel attempted to meet up with the girls for sex.

In March 2023, Noel pleaded guilty to sexually exploiting a girl and using her to make child pornography.

“My office takes child exploitation cases very seriously,” said U.S. Attorney Totten. “Mr. Noel used social media to cast a wide net in search of girls and young women to sexually exploit. Now, he will serve the next 15 years in prison for his predatory behavior. Our foot is on the gas and others who commit these crimes against children will face a similar fate.”

“This sentence should serve as a deterrent to anyone considering preying on our most innocent and vulnerable members of society,” said Devin J. Kowalski, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan.

This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, which works to protect children from online exploitation.

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