A former pediatric nurse from California was sentenced on Dec. 7 to 80 years in prison after pleading guilty to performing sexual acts on two babies.
Michael William Lutts pleaded guilty in January to charges of distribution of child pornography and sexual exploitation of a child. He admitted to 15 instances of recording sexual acts with two infants, an 11-month-old and a 2-month-old premature foster child under his care. The incidents took place both at his home and at the workplace.
“This is a deeply disturbing case,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy, reports KNSD. “We will do everything in our power to protect our precious, defenseless children from sexual abuse and exploitation, especially at the hands of caregivers who are supposed to keep them safe.”
During the sentencing, U.S. District Judge John Houston said Lutts was the “worst of the worst.” According to WVIT, Houston gave the former nurse 15 years above what was asked of the prosecution because he aimed to "send a message to others who conduct this activity under the cover of dark." Houston did not recommend any type of mental health services for Lutts because he felt that "taxpayers shouldn't waste their money on (his) treatment."
The former pediatric nurse was arrested by FBI agents at his home in August 2014. Agents initially started tracking Lutts due to allegations of his involvement in distributing child pornography.
During the search, FBI agents found several hundred images and videos displaying child pornography. The offender’s cellphone contained images and videos of Lutts molesting a premature 2-month-old foster child that was in his care.
According to the FBI complaint, Lutts started recording himself performing sexual acts with the child on the first day he received custody of the infant.
Two other men are accused of collaborating with Lutts. Stephen Schaffner, a former counselor, allegedly directed Lutts to molest the foster child and send pictures to him. Bartolomeo Baravella was arrested on suspicion of planning to kidnap a baby with the former nurse and has been charged with possession of images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
“This defendant is a parent’s worst nightmare and a predator to society," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Alessandra Serano. "He should never see the light of day."