Samuel Qorion Chittenden, 18, must also register as a sex offender, Hulsing said during the hearing on Monday.
Chittenden was one of seven suspects identified last fall for the manufacture and distribution of child pornography over the internet. He faced up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the charges.
“I hate what I did. I shouldn’t have done it,” Chittenden said before his sentencing.
His attorney, Michael Bartish, said his client had moved out of the residence where there were young children, was remorseful, and had no other issues since being investigated and charged. Bartish asked the judge to give Chittenden a sentence under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA), which provides a defendant a chance to wipe their record clean after making a bad decision.
Hulsing said that, given the material included in the probation report, Chittenden would have to successfully serve at least two and a half years probation before he could apply for HYTA.
The judge suggested that Chittenden use the tools available to him to get help.
“The prosecuting attorney is working with your attorney to do what is best for you and society, as well,” Hulsing said.
Tips from state and federal partners led to the beginning of the four-month investigation in Ottawa County last fall. The Combined Computer Forensics Team, which consists of a detective from the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office and a detective with the Holland Department of Public Safety, worked with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to develop evidence on how the suspects were making and sharing the images over the internet. That resulted in local police obtaining search warrants.
Anyone with information about similar activity is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 616-738-4000 or Silent Observer at 877-887-4536, or leave a tip on the Silent Observer website at mosotips.org. Tips may also be submitted to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at missingkids.org/cybertipline.