LP man remains in federal custody

Michael Christianson

La PORTE ­– A La Porte man facing federal charges for allegedly trying to publish a book containing images of child pornography remains in federal custody after his initial court hearing was delayed.

Michael Christianson, 50, was charged in a federal criminal complaint with transportation of child pornography, and arrested last Thursday, according to a joint announcement from U.S. Attorney Thomas Kirsch, FBI Special Agent In Charge Grant Mendenhall, and La Porte County Prosecutor John Lake.

"We are pleased to announce that this dangerous individual is now in custody, having been charged federally with one count of Transportation of Child Pornography," a statement from the prosecutor's office said.

A probable cause hearing was originally scheduled for Monday in U.S. District Court in Hammond, but Christianson's attorney, Peter Boyles of Hammond, asked for and received a delay, stating in a court filing he did not have enough time to properly review the case.

A detention hearing scheduled for Tuesday was also delayed, and will be conducted along with the probable cause hearing on Aug. 20, according to U.S. Attorney's office spokesman Ryan Holmes, who said Christianson will remain in the custody of U.S. Marshals until that time.

As the federal case gets underway in Hammond, the Indiana Adult Probation Department has also filed a petition to revoke Christianson's probation, based on the federal arrest and criminal charges, according to the prosecutor's office.

The probation stems from a 2002 conviction in La Porte County for child molesting, according to the Indiana Sex and Violent Offender Registry.

Christianson was sentenced to serve 40 years in prison and register as a Sexually Violent Predator for the rest of his life, according to court records. Ten years of that sentence was suspended, and Christianson was released from prison in 2016 after serving half of the 30 years, and placed on probation.

He was “still on probation at the time of the newly charged offense,” Holmes said.

The federal criminal complaint alleges that on July 2, 2019, FBI agents from the Charlotte (North Carolina) Division were contacted by an employee of a book publisher – Lulu Press – about material contained in three books submitted for publication and authored by Christianson.

The books "appeared to contain child pornography, specifically the content includes numerous photographs of naked children under the age of 18, including some depicting children under the age of 12," the complaint states.

The books at first glance seem to be geared toward children, but actually "appear to be designed for use by an adult in grooming a child for sexual contact," the complaint states. The books make it "seem normal for boys and girls to be naked, even when playing with other children and even when playing with adults."

“The books explain and show images of the body parts of boys and girls, encourage and show images of children playing naked with one another, and encourage and show images of naked children playing with adults, including naked adults,” Holmes said.

“The photographs and illustrations in the books include depictions of minor children being caused to lasciviously display their genitals or otherwise engage in sexually explicit conduct,” he said.

The books are entitled, "Hey Uncle Buck! What is a Boy? What is a Girl?"; "Grandpa has a Ding-a-ling (for those who care)"; and "You-And-Your-Beautiful-Daring-Very-Amazing-Almost-Never-Naked Body," according to the complaint.

All include photos of naked prepubescent children, some in sexual situations, and seem to encourage children to engage in sexual contact with adults, the complaint states.

The FBI is asking that anyone with information regarding any contact Christianson has had with minor children to call 219-942-4900.

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