Ypsilanti man sentenced after trying to lure undercover officer pretending to be young girl for sex

‘His repeated attempts to lure and exploit children are deplorable’

Gavel. (Generic) (Photo by EKATERINA BOLOVTSOVA)

YPSILANTI, Mich. – A Ypsilanti man was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison for trying to produce child pornography and attempting to lure young girls for sex, according to officials.

Andrew Joseph Vinyard, 43, plead guilty in June to charges after he solicited an undercover officer pretending to be a 14-year-old girl for sexual images.

The FBI said he offered two 14-year-old children “modeling opportunities” and money in exchange for sex in November of 2019. The victims’ parents told police, and officers had an undercover officer pose as a female student and contact Vinyard via his Instagram account.

The undercover officer told Vinyard they were 14 years old and Vinyard offered to buy them a new phone in exchange for sex acts and explicit photos, prosecutors said. Vinyard also offered the undercover officer $500 to get together and do cocaine so he could “take her virginity” and take sexually explicit photographs of her.

Prosecutors said Vinyard requested multiple photos and videos of the undercover officer engaging in sexual activity and asked for live video texts of the undercover officer so he could direct her to perform sex acts on herself.

“Today’s sentence reaffirms our office’s commitment to protecting the most vulnerable and defenseless members of our community -- children,” said U.S. Attorney Ison. “It is our hope that a 25-year sentence sends a message to the defendant, and the community at large that we will continue to root out this type of evil in our society and pursue stiff sentences for defendants like this who repeatedly prey on the young.”

The case was investigated by the Huron Township Police Department and the FBI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Eaton Brown.

“Protecting children from dangerous, serial child predators like Andrew Vinyard is a priority for our office,” said James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office. “His repeated attempts to lure and exploit children are deplorable and our young people are safer with him behind bars. I am proud of the FBI, our law enforcement partners, and the concerned parents that came forward to hold this man accountable.”

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Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.