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Former Sparta councilman pleads guilty to child exploitation charge

Posted at 4:43 PM, Apr 29, 2019

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A former member of the Sparta Village Council has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of sexual exploitation of a minor.

Ryan Hayes entered a guilty plea to the charge on April 10. He is accused of coercing a 16-year-old girl to engage in sexually explicit conduct and taking photos of it on his cellphone around April of 2018.

Court documents show Hayes was arrested after making plans to meet up with a girl he believed to be a 14-year-old girl named Liv at Huff Park in Grand Rapids. The person was actually a Kent County Sheriff’s Office investigator.

Hayes resigned from his position on the council at the end of October, but was re-elected in the November election. He didn’t return to his position.