Florida Man Sentenced to 25 Years for Producing Sexually Explicit Material with a Minor

Florida man sentenced to 25 years for producing sexually explicit material with a minor. Learn about the case and its impact on the victim.

In a harrowing case, a man from New Smyrna Beach, Florida has been sentenced to 25 years in federal prison for producing sexually explicit material with a minor. Michael Wayne Lyon, 39, was found guilty of video recording himself sexually abusing a child he met on social media and sharing the abuse video with others online. Lyon first began messaging the 13-year-old child in October 2017, falsely claiming to be younger than he was. The conversations quickly became explicit, and Lyon convinced the child to send explicit photos. Lyon then traveled to the Pacific Northwest to meet the child, where he recorded himself abusing the child and shared the video with others.

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The case involving Michael Wayne Lyon, a resident of New Smyrna Beach, Florida, is a distressing example of child exploitation. Lyon was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison for using a minor to produce sexually explicit material. In addition to his prison term, he will serve 10 years on supervised release and must register as a sex offender for life. The details of the case reveal a pattern of online grooming, exploitation, and threats against the victim, highlighting the need for comprehensive measures to address this heinous crime.

Summary of the Crime

In October 2017, Lyon initiated contact with a 13-year-old child online. Initially misrepresenting his age, he engaged the child in explicit conversations and coerced the child into sending naked photos. Despite the child’s attempts to end communication, Lyon persisted, obtaining personal information and even traveled to the Pacific Northwest in an attempt to meet the child. Lyon recorded himself sexually abusing the child at a hotel and later shared the video with several individuals known to the child. He continued to contact and threaten the child in subsequent years, culminating in a violent threat to kill the child and their family in October 2020.

Details of the Sentencing

Following Lyon’s arrest in December 2020, he was charged by federal criminal complaint and subsequently indicted by a federal grand jury in Portland on February 2, 2021. After a trial, Lyon was convicted on August 11, 2022. He received a sentence of 25 years in federal prison, reflecting the severity of his crimes. Lyon’s sentencing also includes 10 years of supervised release and lifetime registration as a sex offender. These measures aim to hold Lyon accountable for his actions and protect society from potential future harm.

Registration as a Sex Offender

One significant consequence of Lyon’s conviction is the requirement to register as a sex offender for life. Sex offender registration is a crucial tool for law enforcement and communities to monitor individuals who have been convicted of sexual offenses. By requiring Lyon to register, authorities can ensure that those who may pose a risk to public safety are closely monitored. Furthermore, sex offender registration serves as a deterrent and enables the public to be aware of potential dangers in their communities.

Timeline of the Case

To understand the full scope of Lyon’s crimes and the efforts made to bring him to justice, it is essential to review the timeline of events:

October 2017: Lyon Initiates Contact with the Minor

Lyon began exchanging messages with the 13-year-old child online, initially pretending to be a teenager themselves. The conversations quickly turned explicit, and Lyon coerced the child into sharing naked photos.

March 2018: Lyon Travels to the Pacific Northwest

Despite the child’s attempts to end communication, Lyon persisted and traveled to the Pacific Northwest in the hope of meeting the child. This demonstrates Lyon’s determination to manipulate and exploit the victim.

2018-2020: Lyon Continues to Contact and Threaten the Child

Even after Lyon’s trip to the Pacific Northwest, he continued to contact the child and created multiple social media accounts to evade the child’s attempts to block him. Over time, Lyon’s messages became increasingly threatening and violent.

December 11, 2020: Lyon Is Charged and an Arrest Warrant Is Issued

Law enforcement charged Lyon with his crimes, and an arrest warrant was issued for his apprehension. This marked a significant step in holding Lyon accountable for his actions.

December 20, 2020: Lyon Is Arrested in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania

Thanks to the diligent efforts of local law enforcement, Lyon was arrested in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, and taken into custody. This arrest ensured that he would face justice for his crimes.

February 2, 2021: Lyon Is Indicted by a Federal Grand Jury

Following his arrest, Lyon was indicted by a federal grand jury, underscoring the gravity of his offenses and initiating the formal legal proceedings against him.

August 11, 2022: Lyon Is Convicted at Trial

After a trial, Lyon was found guilty of the charges brought against him. This conviction represents a significant milestone in the pursuit of justice for the victim and the community affected by Lyon’s actions.


Investigations into cases of child exploitation require meticulous work and collaboration among various law enforcement entities. In the case of Michael Wayne Lyon, the FBI Portland’s Child Exploitation Task Force (CETF) played a crucial role in uncovering the extent of Lyon’s crimes and gathering the evidence necessary for prosecution.

FBI Portland’s Child Exploitation Task Force (CETF)

CETF is a specialized unit within the FBI that focuses on investigating crimes involving the online exploitation and abuse of children. The task force engages in undercover operations, collaborates with other law enforcement agencies, and works tirelessly to identify and apprehend individuals who prey on children. The involvement of CETF in Lyon’s case highlights the commitment of law enforcement agencies to protecting the most vulnerable members of society.

Assistance from Local Law Enforcement

Local law enforcement agencies, including the Hermiston and Umatilla Police Departments, provided vital support and collaboration during the investigation into Lyon’s crimes. Such collaboration is crucial for sharing resources, information, and expertise to ensure comprehensive investigations and successful prosecutions. The involvement of local law enforcement demonstrates the commitment of the entire justice system in addressing child exploitation.

Role of the Prosecution

Prosecutors play a pivotal role in bringing offenders like Lyon to justice. In Lyon’s case, Pamela Paaso and Suzanne Miles, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon, undertook the responsibility of presenting the evidence and arguing the case against him. Their expertise and dedication were instrumental in securing Lyon’s conviction and the subsequent sentencing.

Project Safe Childhood

Project Safe Childhood is a nationwide initiative launched by the Justice Department in 2006 to combat the growing prevalence of child sexual exploitation and abuse. The initiative brings together federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, as well as non-governmental organizations, to prevent, investigate, and prosecute individuals involved in child exploitation crimes. Lyon’s case is an example of how Project Safe Childhood aims to protect children and hold offenders accountable.

Overview of Project Safe Childhood

Project Safe Childhood focuses on three primary goals: 1) reducing the vulnerability of children to sexual exploitation, 2) investigating and prosecuting those who exploit children, and 3) enhancing the capabilities of law enforcement and other professionals to respond effectively to these crimes. By addressing prevention, investigation, and prosecution comprehensively, Project Safe Childhood aims to create safer communities for children.

Role of the Initiative in Combating Child Sexual Exploitation

Project Safe Childhood plays a critical role in combating child sexual exploitation through various strategies. These strategies include raising public awareness about online safety, conducting investigations and prosecutions, providing training and resources to law enforcement, and collaborating with partner organizations to support victim assistance and rehabilitation services.

Connection of Lyon’s Case to Project Safe Childhood

Lyon’s case exemplifies the importance of Project Safe Childhood’s mission. The investigation, prosecution, and subsequent conviction of Lyon demonstrate the commitment of law enforcement agencies to protect children from sexual exploitation. By bringing Lyon’s crimes to light and ensuring his punishment, Project Safe Childhood serves as a powerful deterrent to potential offenders and sends a message that these crimes will not be tolerated.

Impact on the Victim

The victim in Lyon’s case undoubtedly experienced severe emotional and psychological effects as a result of Lyon’s predatory actions. Child exploitation can leave lasting trauma, affecting a victim’s self-esteem, trust in others, and overall mental well-being. Understanding the impact on the victim is crucial for providing appropriate support and rehabilitation.

Emotional and Psychological Effects

Victims of child exploitation may experience a range of emotional and psychological effects, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and feelings of guilt or shame. The breach of trust and violation of personal boundaries can lead to long-term difficulties in establishing healthy relationships and coping with daily life.

Support and Rehabilitation for the Victim

Victim support and rehabilitation services are indispensable in assisting survivors of child exploitation in their healing process. These services may include counseling, therapy, support groups, and access to medical and legal resources. By providing comprehensive support, professionals can help the victim regain their sense of self-worth, rebuild their resilience, and navigate the path to recovery.

Preventing Child Exploitation

Preventing child exploitation requires a multi-faceted approach that involves education, vigilance, and effective communication. It is crucial to address this issue proactively in order to protect children from falling victim to predators.

Importance of Online Safety Education

Online safety education is a vital component of preventing child exploitation. Teaching children about safe online practices, such as never sharing personal information or engaging in explicit conversations with strangers, empowers them to make informed decisions and protect themselves from potential dangers. Schools, parents, and community organizations should prioritize online safety education for children of all ages.

Role of Parents and Guardians in Prevention

Parents and guardians play a crucial role in preventing child exploitation. Maintaining open lines of communication with their children and engaging them in discussions about online safety is essential. It is also important for adults to monitor their children’s online activities, set appropriate boundaries, and be vigilant for signs of potential exploitation. By actively participating in their children’s digital lives, parents and guardians can create a safer environment for them.

Reporting Suspicious Activity

The responsibility of preventing child exploitation extends beyond individuals directly involved with children. It is essential for everyone to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity they encounter. If someone suspects or witnesses possible child exploitation, they should immediately contact local law enforcement or report it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s CyberTipline at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) or online at www.cybertipline.org.

Consequences for Offenders

Effectively addressing child exploitation also requires holding offenders accountable for their actions. The legal system imposes significant consequences on individuals convicted of child exploitation to safeguard society and deter potential offenders.

Lengthy Prison Sentences

Offenders like Lyon face lengthy prison sentences to ensure they are removed from society and unable to harm others. These sentences serve as a form of punishment and aim to deter potential offenders by delivering a clear message that child exploitation will result in severe consequences.

Supervised Release and Registration as a Sex Offender

In addition to prison time, individuals convicted of child exploitation are often subject to supervised release. This period of oversight helps monitor offenders as they reintegrate into society and ensures compliance with various conditions established by the court. Additionally, offenders must register as sex offenders for life, which enables law enforcement to closely monitor their activities and helps protect communities from potential harm.

Addressing Recidivism

Addressing recidivism, the tendency of an offender to re-offend, is a critical aspect of preventing future incidents of child exploitation. While prison sentences and registration as sex offenders contribute to reducing recidivism, it is also crucial to provide offenders with appropriate rehabilitation opportunities during their incarceration and post-release. Counseling, therapy, and educational programs can help offenders address the underlying issues that contributed to their criminal behavior and reduce the risk of re-offending.

Collaborative Efforts

Effectively combating child exploitation requires collaborative efforts among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. Through coordination, information sharing, and specialized units, these entities can pool their resources and expertise to achieve better outcomes.

Coordination between Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement

Coordination between different levels of law enforcement is essential to ensure that child exploitation cases are thoroughly investigated and prosecuted. Federal agencies like the FBI and regional task forces such as CETF work in close collaboration with state and local counterparts, sharing information, resources, and best practices to protect children and bring offenders to justice.

Task Forces and Specialized Units

The establishment of specialized units and task forces dedicated to combating child exploitation significantly enhances law enforcement’s effectiveness. These units pool together experts from various fields, including investigators, prosecutors, victim advocates, and analysts, to address the unique challenges of investigating and prosecuting these complex crimes.

Information Sharing and Cooperation

The sharing of information and intelligence among law enforcement agencies is crucial in identifying potential offenders, tracking their activities, and preventing further harm to children. Formalized information-sharing mechanisms at the local, state, and federal levels facilitate seamless cooperation and enable a more comprehensive response to child exploitation.

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Call to Action

Preventing child exploitation requires the commitment and involvement of individuals, communities, and organizations. There are several ways to contribute to the cause and protect children from the horrors of exploitation.

Encouraging Reporting of Child Exploitation

Encouraging the reporting of child exploitation is crucial. By promoting awareness and educating the public about the signs of child exploitation, society can become more vigilant and responsive. This includes reporting any suspicious activities or concerns to the appropriate authorities, ensuring that potential victims receive the assistance and protection they need.

Supporting Organizations Addressing Child Exploitation

Supporting organizations that work to combat child exploitation is an effective way to contribute to the cause. These organizations provide a range of services, including victim support, advocacy, public outreach, and prevention programs. Donating time, resources, or funds to these organizations helps ensure their continued efforts in protecting and supporting victims.

Promoting Awareness and Education

Promoting awareness and education about child exploitation is crucial for preventing these crimes. Individuals can participate in awareness campaigns, engage in discussions, share information through social media, and support initiatives that prioritize the safety and well-being of children. By increasing awareness, society can better protect children and create an environment where child exploitation is not tolerated.


The case of Michael Wayne Lyon serves as a stark reminder of the grave consequences of child exploitation. Lyon’s heinous crimes highlight the need for comprehensive efforts and collaboration to combat this societal issue. From prevention and investigation to prosecution and victim support, addressing child exploitation requires a multifaceted approach that prioritizes the safety and well-being of children. By working together and taking proactive measures, individuals, communities, and organizations can contribute to a safer future for all children.

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