Christian radio host sought young boys
A MICHIGAN radio personality known for his work on “family friendly” Christian broadcasts has appeared in court 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 following an investigation by US 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.
Balyo allegedly paid another man to arrange sexual encounters with boys, according to law enforcement officials. He was arrested at the Big Ticket Festival – an annual Christian music festival in Michigan.
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.
WCSG bills itself as a “family friendly” radio station and an “influence for Christ.”
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 “into 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.
Following Balyo’s arrest, his wife issued an appeal for donations. Bethany Balyo is seeking $50,000 to support her and her son as they deal with court costs, counselling, loss of income, and other hardships stemming from his arrest.
When officials searched a storage unit rented by Balyo, they found duct tape, handcuffs, chains, and other items as part of a “bondage kit”. They also found a padlock, children’s socks, rubber gloves, and clippings of missing child reports and child obituaries.
His wife, who married Balyo just seven weeks before his arrest, told her supporters that the events have shattered her life.
Her YouCaring crowdfunding page reads:
This now single mom is now experiencing something that no person should have to endure. Your generosity and compassion will help Bethany and her son with unexpected expenses such as counselling, medical care, loss of income, Bethany’s personal court costs and just everyday living expenses due to these tragic circumstances.
Bethany has always been the first one to reach out and help others, now it’s our turn to help her and her son.
Around $13,000 has been raised so far.
The comments section of the crowdfunding page was filled with best wishes and prayers for Bethany and her son during this difficult time.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn