August 18, 2014

Mattawan Man Sentenced to 30 Years in Federal Prison for Multiple Counts of Attempted Sexual Exploitation of a Child and Other Related Charges

GRAND RAPIDS, MI—James Alfred Beckman, Jr., 39, of Mattawan, Michigan was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for multiple counts of Attempted Sexual Exploitation of a Child, Attempted Coercion and Enticement of a Child, and Receipt and Distribution of Child Pornography, U.S. Attorney Patrick A. Miles, Jr. announced today. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Janet T. Neff ordered Beckman to pay $32,480 in restitution to multiple victims, and Judge Neff imposed a lifetime term of supervised release that will commence once Beckman is released from imprisonment. Beckman will also be required to register as a sexual offender.

A jury returned guilty verdicts on these counts on March 11, 2014, after a two-week trial. The evidence presented at trial showed that the defendant sexually abused and exploited two young children during 2012. He streamed and attempted to stream live video of this abuse and exploitation to others. In exchange, he received child pornography and other things he deemed of value. The defendant’s conduct came to light when one of his victims disclosed the abuse to another adult. The Michigan State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation then launched an investigation. The investigation revealed a network of individuals trafficking in child pornography. Two of the defendant’s accomplices testified against him.

During the sentencing proceeding, Judge Neff stated that Beckman’s conduct was “about as serious as it gets,” and she stated that it would be difficult to imagine a more serious offense. She stated that on a scale from 1 to 10, this case was “way past 10.” U.S. Attorney Miles echoed these sentiments, stating, “The seriousness of Beckman’s crimes cannot be overstated. Preying upon children and exploiting them while also feeding the online demand for child pornography are extremely damaging to children and to our society. Protecting the vulnerable is a top priority of federal law enforcement. Child sex predators are being pursued relentlessly by local, state and federal authorities.”

“The perpetrator in this case, who egregiously exploited and sexually abused young children, is among the worst of the worst offenders” stated Paul Abbate, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Detroit Field Office. “Those who prey upon our children must know that state and federal authorities will be relentless in our efforts to protect and keep children safe, and will bring to bear the full weight of justice upon those who violate their innocence.”

This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, county prosecutor’s offices, the Internet Crimes Against Children task force (ICAC), federal, state, and local law enforcement are working closely together to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children. The partners in Project Safe Childhood work to educate local communities about the dangers of online child exploitation, and to teach children how to protect themselves. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit the following website: Individuals with information or concerns about possible child exploitation should contact local law enforcement officials.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Michigan State Police (MSP) investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sean M. Lewis and Timothy P. Verhey prosecuted the case.