GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney Mark Totten today announced that Jonathon Thomas Burgett, 37, of Holland, Michigan was sentenced to 30 years in the Bureau of Prisons for the sexual exploitation of a child. In imposing sentence, U.S. District Judge Jane M. Beckering noted that Burgett “engaged in conduct that will, for a lifetime, severely impact” the victim. Burgett will be on supervised release for 5 years when he gets out of prison.
“This type of predation harms some of the most vulnerable members of our society and can cause lasting damage,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten. “My office will always pursue people who create child pornography and we will seek penalties to help protect other children from being victimized.”
Burgett was caught taking photographs through an adult female’s window in Allegan County. When law enforcement searched his phone, they found hundreds of images of child pornography, including sexually explicit images he had taken of a four-year-old. Judge Beckering noted that Burgett had “a long history” of similar offenses and despite treatment starting at an early age, “this was an addiction” for him.
“The images Burgett created are not merely pictures but are a permanent record of his sexual abuse and exploitation of a child,” said James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan. “I struggle to think of behavior more reprehensible, and that is why investigating child predators is a priority for the FBI. I would like to thank the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office for bringing this defendant to our attention and for its assistance in obtaining some measure of justice for this victim.”
This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan; county prosecutor’s offices; HSI; ICAC; the West Michigan Based Child Exploitation Task Force (WEBCHEX); and federal, state, and local law enforcement are working closely together to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children. Anyone with information or concerns about possible child exploitation should contact local law enforcement. For more information about Project Safe Childhood in West Michigan, including resources for children and parents, please visit: https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdmi/project-safe-childhood
This matter was investigated by the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s WEBCHEX task force.