GAYLORD, Mich. — A radio host on a Christian radio station was arrested Friday on child-sex charges.
Authorities say John Balyo, 35, was arrested Friday morning at a Christian music festival near Gaylord, Mich. Balyo, who was the morning host on WCSG Radio, was arrested on charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Authorities say Balyo allegedly paid another person, who is a defendant in another child exploitation case, to arrange for sexual encounters with minor victims. Further details are being withheld until Balyo appears in court.
After his arrest Friday, WCSG's general manager, Chris Lemke, issued a statement saying Balyo was "put on indefinite paid administrative leave pending further investigation and the legal process." Lemke also said they were "shocked and deeply saddened to learn" of Balyo's arrest.
On Saturday, Cornerstone University released a statement saying: "Effective today, John Balyo is no longer affiliated with WCSG Radio." WCSG, Grand Rapids' Family Christian Radio station, is affiliated with Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids. The statement also said that Lemke will address the matter on-air Monday morning.
Authorities say the investigation was conducted under Homeland Security Investigations' Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators.
According to a news release from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Balyo was arrested after an investigation by the agency's Homeland Security Investigations and the Michigan State Police Internet Crimes Against Children.
According to the Customs release, Homeland Security Investigations "has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children," since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003.
Balyo is accused of being a customer, said Chris Johnson, a Cooley Law School professor and human trafficking expert.
"I think the terminology would be a 'John' — that in itself is not going to be human trafficking," said Johnson. "The person he went to in order to secure the child would be the one who would be guilty of human trafficking."
Federal and state agents say that person is 41-year-old Ronald Lee Moser of Battle Creek, Mich. He ran a website offering paying customers sex with underage boys.
Earlier this month when police raided Moser's home, they say they found him with a 12-year-old boy and confiscated child pornography. That also is when authorities say they discovered Balyo was a client of Moser's.
Johnson said pimps with prostitutes who are underage are not uncommon.
"Many times when you do have a brothel that's raided, you do end up finding child victims, unfortunately, that are involved in the commercial sex trade. ... According to the Department of Justice, the average age a person enters prostitution in the United States is between the age of 11 and 13 years old, so there is quite a prevalence of people who have sexual appetites with children."
Agents searched Balyo's home in Caledonia, Mich., on Friday. They did not say whether they found any incriminating evidence.