Defense asked for leniency in the sentencing of 35-year-old Michael Liedtke and the Prosecution asked for a harsher sentence pointing to the fact that his actions were worsening.
Liedtke's attorney, Kendall Hartsfield, pointed to his client's otherwise law abiding life and his recent attendance at a Bible study group at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. “He knows what he did was wrong, and is truly interested in receiving help in the form of counseling,” he said.
The prosecution, on the other hand, pointed out Liedtke's “dastardly obsession with sexualizing innocent children” and stated that “There is concern that given the escalating nature of Liedtke’s criminal conduct, he would have abused a child if he was not arrested in this case.”
In the end, U.S. District Judge Elaine E. Bucklo sentenced him to 6 years 11 months in prison for the guilty plea to a single count of enticing a 16-year-old boy to produce sexually explicit videos of himself.
“It certainly looks like you were really heading in a wrong direction, and obviously things were getting worse,” Bucklo said during sentencing.
“I know I can’t take back what I did, but I can sincerely apologize,” said Liedtke as he read from a prepared statement. “I’ve realized that I am not strong enough to handle this on my own and I need the support of mental health professionals.”
As a part of the plea deal, Liedtke pleaded guilty last year to a single count of receipt of child pornography. During a court-authorized search of his home last year, an external hard drive was located which is said to have contained six videos of child pornography and an additional 29 images which all depicted children engaging in sexual activity. All of the children in the images and videos were known victims identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
He also admitted to hiding a camera in the drop ceiling of a unisex bathroom at a DuPage County Training Academy in Carol Stream where he rented space as a part of his volleyball program called Xcel Athletics. That camera captured images of an estimated 400 people, approximately 300 of which were children under the age of 18.
“I would like to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their work in removing this sexual predator from society,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Berlin said. “Mr. Liedtke’s deviant actions demonstrate his complete disregard for others and society as a whole. While this has been a very disturbing case, Mr. Liedtke’s guilty plea and nearly seven-year sentence underscores the close partnership shared by local and federal authorities working together to keep our communities safe.”