Pediatric Nurse Sentenced to 80 Years for Sexual Exploitation of Children in His Care
SAN DIEGO, CA—Michael William Lutts, a 52-year-old foster parent and pediatric nurse, was sentenced in federal court today to the statutory maximum 80 years in prison for sexually exploiting a two-month-old premature boy and an 11-month-old girl who had been placed in his care in 2014.
During the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge John Houston called Lutts the “worst of the worst” and described his conduct as “horrific” and “worse than a mass murderer shooting 20 people” because the newborns he targeted “are the most fragile people to victimize.”
Before the sentence was handed down, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alessandra Serano urged Judge Houston to hand down a 65-year prison term –essentially life in prison considering the defendant’s age. “This defendant is a parent’s worst nightmare and a predator to society. He should never see the light of day. Rehabilitation would be futile.”
Judge Houston handed Lutts a sentence that was 15 years more than the prosecutor had asked for—saying he wanted to “send a message to others who conduct this activity under the cover of dark.” The judge said he would not recommend any psychological treatment for the defendant as the “taxpayers shouldn’t waste their money on treatment.”
Lutts pleaded guilty in January, admitting to 15 instances in July and August of 2014 in which he photographed and videotaped the babies in sexually explicit situations at both his home and workplace. In one image, the defendant photographed his own exposed genitals beside the infant, who was still wearing his hospital bracelet. In some of the images and videos, the baby is crying as Lutts sexually abuses him. Lutts also admitted e-mailing sexually explicit images of children to others.
Lutts pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of distribution of child pornography. In addition to his custodial sentence, he was ordered to forfeit his College area home where most of the crimes occurred.
“This is one of most appalling, heart-wrenching cases I have seen in this district,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. “All child exploitation cases are heinous. But it’s a whole new level of depravity when the victims are babies in the care of a trusted nurse. One of these victims was a premature, two-month-old foster child who was alone in this world except for a foster parent who was supposed to provide a safe and loving environment. We will do everything in our power to protect our precious, defenseless children from sexual abuse and exploitation.”
“Lutts was trusted with the care of two infants who he sexually exploited and abused repeatedly. These infants suffered in silence, unable to speak for themselves, and unable tell others of the horror they were suffering,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge, Eric S. Birnbaum. “When this type of sexual exploitation takes place, the FBI and our law enforcement partners will aggressively pursue these sexual predators and bring them to justice. In doing so, we will give a voice to the most vulnerable members of our society.”
DEFENDANT Criminal Case No. 14CR2542-JAH
Michael William Lutts Age: 52 San Diego
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
Counts 1, 17: Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §2251(a) Maximum Penalties: Thirty years in prison, mandatory minimum 15 years per count
Counts 16: Distribution of Child Pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §2252(a)(2) Maximum Penalties: Twenty years in prison, mandatory minimum five years
Federal Bureau of Investigation