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Clinton County Man Arrested for Child Sexually Abusive Material

07/12/2019

JONESVILLE, MICH. An investigation conducted by the Michigan State Police (MSP) Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force has resulted in the arrest of a man from Hillsdale County. Richard Hartsell, 29, was arrested at his residence in Jonesville on July 11th and was arraigned at the 2A District Court in Hillsdale County on July 12th. At his arraignment Hartsell was issued a $960,000 bond.

The investigation stemmed from a cyber tip sent to MSP by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Further investigation of the cyber tip led to the identification of a residence in Jonesville Michigan where Hartsell was residing. A search of Hartsell’s residence yielded multiple internet capable devices and evidence. Hartsell was interviewed at the scene of the search warrant, and his devices were seized. After a forensic examination of Hartsell’s devices a warrant for his arrest was sought and authorized by the 2A District Court on July 11th. Hartsell was arrested at his residence later that same day.

Hartsell has been charged with one count of Aggravated Child Sexually Abusive Activity, one count of Aggravated Child Sexually Abusive Activity – Distributing or Promoting, four counts of Aggravated Possession of Child Sexually Abusive Material, and six counts of Using a Computer to Commit a Crime.

If convicted, Hartsell faces up to 200 years in prison for the charged offenses. 25 years for Aggravated Child Sexually Abusive Activity, 15 years for Aggravated Child Sexually Abusive Activity – Distributing or Promoting, 10 years for each count of Aggravated Possession of Child Sexually Abusive Material, and seven to twenty years in prison for each count of using a computer to commit a crime.

The Michigan State Police Computer Crimes Unit encourages parents to speak to their children about practicing safe use of the internet. There are many resources available to parents to assist in keeping children safe online. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children provides a comprehensive list of resources on their website at http://www.missingkids.org.

If you have information regarding possible child sexual exploitation, report it to the CyberTipline at http://www.missingkids.org/cybertipline.