Former Christian radio host John Balyo was sentenced to a minimum of 40 years in prison for sex crimes involving children. Although he was well-known and respected in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, community, authorities said Balyo was living a double life.
Prior to his arrest, John Balyo hosted the morning program on 91.3 WCSG. Described as “family friendly” and “commercial free,” WCSG is a Christian radio station sponsored by Cornerstone University.
In June, Balyo was arrested and charged with sexual exploitation of a child and possession of child pornography. Authorities said the former radio host sexually abused an 11-year-old boy on at least three occasions. The boy’s time was reportedly purchased through a website, which specializes in arranging sexual encounters between minor boys and adult men.
During a search of Balyo’s home and storage unit, authorities uncovered a disturbing collection of child pornography. The collection included photos of a young boy, who was later identified as the 12-year-old victim. Authorities also found photos of the former radio host with an anatomically correct child-sized mannequin. As reported by Detroit Free Press, John Balyo used the mannequin to enact “a sexual kidnapping fantasy.”
MLive reports that authorities also recovered a “bondage kit,” which included chains, duct tape, handcuffs, nylon rope, and rubber gloves. Officials believe Balyo planned to use the items to bind and possibly harm a child.
In August, John Balyo plead guilty to sexual exploitation of a child and possession of child pornography. In her sentencing memorandum, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tessa K. Hessmiller detailed the complexity of the defendant’s crimes.
“Balyo operated under the radar, living a double life. On the outside, he was a law-abiding, charitable, upstanding citizen. He was able to gain people’s trust, leading no one to suspect anything was amiss… underneath the surface, he was feeding a morbid and sadistic fascination with children.”
During sentencing, Judge Robert Holmes Bell acknowledged John Balyo’s double life, stating “there’s the Christian man with a reputation as a value-driven individual… but there is something else going on that is troubling… filthy, obscene.” He then sentenced the former radio host to a minimum 25 years for sexual exploitation of a child and a minimum of 15 years for possession of child pornography. As the sentences will run consecutively, Balyo will spend a minimum of 40 years in a federal prison.
Although he was married at the time of his arrest, John Balyo’s wife was granted a divorce prior to his sentencing hearing. The judge also ordered that his assets be sold to support his unborn child.
[Image via Joy 105]