HUDSONVILLE, Mich. (FOX 2) - A Michigan man is headed to prison after authorities say he had sexual conversations with numerous girls and tried to meet the minors for sex.
Authorities said a girl's mother reported Austin Thomas Noel after she discovered that her child was having sexually explicit conversations with the Hudsonville man in January 2022. The conversations started when the child was 13 years old and continued for around two years.
Investigators said they discovered that Noel's username was associated with more than 700 chat logs and conversations with girls and young women. Authorities said about 37 of those people told Noel that they were minors, and more than half of those girls were between the ages of 12 and 15. Noel is 27.
Authorities said Noel attempted numerous times to meet with the minors for sex.
He pleaded guilty in March to sexually exploiting a victim and using her to create child pornography for him.
Noel was sentenced to 17 ½ years in prison.
"Mr. Noel used social media to cast a wide net in search of girls and young women to sexually exploit. Now, he will serve over 17 years in prison for his predatory behavior. Our foot is on the gas and others who commit these crimes against children will face a similar fate," said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten.