Father of exploitation victim speaks out

Posted at 6:13 PM, Mar 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-02 18:13:44-05

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. - A Grand Haven man is facing four charges, including sexual exploitation of a child and manufacturing child pornography, from allegations made by two teenage boys.

One of the boy's father spoke to FOX 17, with a warning for parents: pay attention the red flags.

"There were a lot of red flags, looking back," says the father of alleged victim.

The father of one of William Easterling's alleged victims says a few things just didn't feel right when he first met Easterling.

"Anytime that I talked to him outside of an official situation, he was really nervous. He never really felt comfortable when I talked to him. He was wanting to make things really short, just to kind of end it and be out of it. He was much more comfortable around the kids," he says.

The father, who wants to remain anonymous, says he regrets not listening to a dad’s instincts about Easterling’s strange behavior.

"The first time that I really noticed something was wrong is I found out there was some overnights being done at his house when my son was with my ex-wife. And so I sat down with him and had about an hour long conversation with him and the entire time he was sweating. He didn't want to be there. He never took his sunglasses off, and that just really shot up a red flag for me," he says.

He says he contacted Big Brothers Big Sisters of The Lakeshore, where Easterling reportedly met his son.  That led to Easterling’s arrest and charges in federal court.

The reality of Easterling finally being held accountable for his actions was almost too much to take for this father shaken by what investigators say happened.

"Just shocked, because it wasn't an adult that told me. It was my son. He told me that all of this was going on and I didn't really know what to believe. It was just, it was hard," says the dad.

And when Easterling shows up in court to face charges, this father says he plans to be there.

"I'll be at every court hearing. I want him to see my face. He'll never understand what he's done and how he's affected my family. The relationship that I have with my kids, he'll never understand that his actions changed my son," the father says.

He says he is telling his story to FOX 17 because he wants other parents to follow their suspicions and always look for signs of abuse.

"Just be more aware of who you're around and it's difficult to, but look for signs," says the father of the alleged victim.