A Michigan radio personality known for his work on "family friendly" Christian broadcasts appeared in court Monday on charges of paying a middleman to arrange sexual encounters with young boys, authorities said.
John Balyo, 35, of Caledonia, Michigan, was arraigned in Calhoun County District Court on a charge of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree with a child under the age of 13. Balyo was arrested Friday following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Michigan State Police, according to a statement issued by ICE.
A preliminary hearing was set for July 7 and Balyo was ordered held without bail, according to court records.
Balyo allegedly paid another man to arrange sexual encounters with boys, according to law enforcement officials. He was arrested at a Christian music festival.
Grand Rapids, Michigan, radio station, WCSG said that Balyo was no longer affiliated with it, and General Manager Chris Lemke issued a statement asking for prayers for "justice to prevail."
"We are shocked and deeply saddened by the news ... we trust in a God who is just and sovereign and will see us through this difficult time," Lemke said in the statement.
WCSG bills itself as a "family friendly" radio station and an "influence for Christ."
Prosecutor says Christian radio host admitted to sex with boy, 12. At 5&6, live reports on John Balyo's arraignment. pic.twitter.com/SfAC3z3w5a— WOOD TV (@WOODTV) June 23, 2014
Balyo's arrest was connected to an investigation and arrest of another Michigan man, Ronald Lee Moser, said Battle Creek Police Detective Jim Martens. Moser was charged this month with sexual exploitation and attempted sexual exploitation of a child and possession and distribution of child pornography.
According to court documents, Moser created an online profile seeking people "in to kids" and posted online albums containing images of children with titles that included "The Best Boy," "sweet young" and "sweet body."
One image contained in the albums showed a boy lying face down on a bed with his hands tied to the corners of the bed and his legs spread, court documents state.
The Balyo and Moser cases are part of an investigation dubbed Operation Predator, launched in 2003 by ICE's Homeland Security Investigations unit, which has so far led to the arrests of more than 10,000 people for crimes against children.